Amid the many toxic workplace accusations mounted against Ellen DeGeneres, one claim indicated that there was a "no eye contact" rule for everyone to follow when interacting with the host. Now, DeGeneres has reportedly denied these allegations as "crazy" and "just not true." According to Page Six, the host held a Zoom call with staff on Monday, and cleared the air, saying, "I don’t know where it started. Please talk to me. Look me in the eye."
DeGeneres then reportedly called the idea of this rule "insane," and stated, "It’s crazy, just not true, I don’t know how it started. [It’s] not who I am." Over the past few weeks, accusations surrounding the show have caused a significant amount of scrutiny, and have ranged from producers displaying sexual misconduct to DeGeneres being cold and unapproachable behind the scenes. While many of her celebrity friends have come to her defense, there have been a number of former guests and who've said that their impression of the host was far different than the reality.
Neil Breen, a former producer of Australia’s Today show, previously alleged that DeGeneres’ staff expressed "bizarre" demands when she made an appearance on his show in 2013. "'She’ll come in, she’ll sit down, she’ll talk to Richard and then Ellen will leave,'" Breen recalled being told. "And I sort of said, 'I can’t look at her?' I found the whole thing bizarre."
In response to the sexual misconduct accusations, three top producers were fired from the show: Executive producers Ed Glavin and Kevin Leman, and co-executive producer Jonathan Norman. Notably, shortly after the allegations emerged, Glavin issued a joint statement with other fellow executive producers Mary Connelly and Andy Lassner. "Over the course of nearly two decades, 3,000 episodes, and employing over 1000 staff members, we have strived to create an open, safe, and inclusive work environment. We are truly heartbroken and sorry to learn that even one person in our production family has had a negative experience. It's not who we are and not who we strive to be, and not the mission Ellen has set for us," the statement read at the time.
It hasn't just been low-level staffers making accusations, as former Ellen producer Hedda Muskat came forward to share her experience as well. She claimed that she once watched Glavin unleash his fury on a staff member and that DeGeneres just laughed in response. "He just went off on them. His whole face turned red. We were stunned," she said. "I was waiting for Ellen to say something [like] 'Whoa, Ed, don’t talk like that.' Do you know what she did? She giggled. She crossed her legs up on the chair and she said, 'Well, I guess every production needs their dog' … And from then we knew. Ed was going to be the barking dog - her dog."