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Ellen DeGeneres calls toxic-workplace allegations about her show ‘orchestrated’ and ‘coordinated’

Summary List PlacementEllen DeGeneres discussed toxic-workplace allegations on Thursday's episode of "Today," her first televised interview after announcing that her namesake NBC talk show would end after its 19th season airs in 2022. "I really didn't understand it. I still don't understand it. It was too orchestrated. It was too coordinated," she told the "Today" cohost Savannah Guthrie. She continued: "People get picked on, but for four months straight for me. For me to read in the press about a toxic work environment when all I've ever heard from every guest that comes on the show is what a happy atmosphere...

Ellen DeGeneres

Summary List Placement

Ellen DeGeneres discussed toxic-workplace allegations on Thursday’s episode of “Today,” her first televised interview after announcing that her namesake NBC talk show would end after its 19th season airs in 2022.

“I really didn’t understand it. I still don’t understand it. It was too orchestrated. It was too coordinated,” she told the “Today” cohost Savannah Guthrie.

She continued: “People get picked on, but for four months straight for me. For me to read in the press about a toxic work environment when all I’ve ever heard from every guest that comes on the show is what a happy atmosphere this is and what a happy place it is.”

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DeGeneres told Guthrie that she wasn’t aware of any issues on the set until she read current and former staffers’ accusations in media reports.

“I don’t know how I could have known when there’s 255 employees here and there are a lot of different buildings,” she said. “Unless I literally stayed here until the last person goes home at night.”

Because she has been the star of the show for 18 years, DeGeneres said she felt a responsibility to address the allegations and ensure the on-set work environment improved.

The comedian continued: “I do wish somebody would have come to me and said, ‘Hey something is going on that you should know about.'”

Ellen Degeneres show

Throughout 2020, DeGeneres was widely scrutinized after former guests and staff members accused her of being rude, entitled, and unpleasant to those around her.

Current and former employees also said they faced “racism, fear, and intimidation” while working at “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” in a report Buzzfeed News published in July. WarnerMedia then launched an internal investigation into the show, leading to the firing of three producers accused of sexual harassment. Two of the producers denied the accusations and the third did not respond to the publication’s requests for comment.

DeGeneres wrote a letter (obtained by The Hollywood Reporter) to staff members in July saying that she was “disappointed to learn” that people didn’t feel respected or happy on the set and that she had been unable to “stay on top of everything” as the team grew.

She did not, however, address the reports about her personal actions.

When DeGeneres announced plans to end her talk show next year, she said the decision wasn’t related to the allegations about her behavior or the show’s workplace.

“It almost impacted the show. It was very hurtful to me. I mean, very. But if I was quitting the show because of that, I wouldn’t have come back this season,” she told The Hollywood Reporter.

DeGeneres said she knew season 19 would be the final installment of episodes after she signed a three-year contract at the end of season 16, which aired from 2018 to 2019.

“As great as this show is, and as fun as it is, it’s just not a challenge anymore,” she said. “I need something new to challenge me.”

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