A woman who took part in a game on The Ellen DeGeneres Show back in 2018 claims host Ellen DeGeneres "snapped" out of the "kind" character during commercial breaks. Dana Dimatteo claims DeGeneres would sit on the couch on the set without acknowledging anyone. Dematteo came forward with her story as the show's producers are under investigation for alleged sexual harassment and creating a toxic behind-the-scenes work environment.
Dimatteo, 29, was picked from the audience to take part in the "Maike It Rain!" game when she attended a taping in Los Angeles in 2018. "During commercial breaks, Ellen would break out of her 'kind' character and sit moodily in silence on her couch, not acknowledging anyone," Dimatteo told The Sun Thursday, adding that DeGeneres would not speak to the audience until the cameras started filming again. She "snapped out of her character" once they cut to commercial.
According to Dimatteo she and a friend flew from Chicago to Los Angeles just to go to an Ellen taping. When they arrived at the studio, the audience was told "not allowed to be funnier or smarter than Ellen, that she is the star and the comedian, not us" if they were selected to go on stage. They were "told to act in a very specific way and to only speak if she asked us a question." DiMatteo said it was "pretty humiliating" the way the producers asked the audience to "scream and jump around backstage."
The "Make It Rain!" game features audience members getting soaked while they try to win money. After the game was over, Dimatteo and her friend were sent backstage and waited the entire time in their wet clothes, hoping they would be brought new clothes. "I didn’t enjoy myself on the show," Dimatteo told The Sun. "You have to follow all these rules, you can’t be yourself, you have to clap constantly and laugh at things that aren’t funny."
Late last month, WarnerMedia launched an investigation into the Ellen DeGeneres Show, after several former staffers described their negative experiences with BuzzFeed News. Some also accused senior producers of sexual harassment and misconduct. DeGeneres apologized in a memo to staff, vowing to make changes. Executive producer Ed Glavin is expected to be among those forced out.
DeGeneres herself has not been immune to criticism. Former producer Hedda Muskat recently told The Wrap DeGeneres was aware of her producers' behavior She said DeGeneres once saw Glavin yell at an employee and laughed. "You could just see everybody’s faces go stiff," Muskat recalled. "We’re professionals; we’re adults. We don’t need a dog to get us to do our jobs … She was the only one giggling."