Why Ellen is not the kind and generous host we all once thought.
By Kylie Halmi
Ellen DeGeneres was honored with the Carol Burnett Award at the 77th Golden Globe Awards on January 5th 2020. This award was created in honor of Carol Burnett and was given to her in the previous year. The organization said the recipient must be "an honoree who has made outstanding contributions to the television medium on or off the screen." This achievement is also meant to represent the charter of the repecient, which conflicts with the recent allegations about Ellen Degeneres’ character.
The Ellen Degeneres Show has been airing since 2003 but Ellen’s brand and stardom had taken off long before then. She began her journey into comedy at 23 and eventually, after making cameo appearances on many top shows, landed her own sitcom in 1994, titled “Ellen.” Much of her fame can also be accredited to her public coming out journey and her activism for LGBTQ+ rights. While this did gain Ellen praise at the time,a lot of the show’s success eventually died down as increased critisisms for the character’s open homosexuality ended up getting the show cancelled.
But this didn't stop Ellen from creating her own talk show in 2003. This new platform quickly became a success for Ellen, and since airing, the show has won many awards, including a record 11 Emmys for a daytime talk show. Ellen is arguably one of the most famous and funny talk show hosts and Ellen herself has definitely become a household name. But why recently have people’s impressions of her changed?
When COVID-19 first began to spread in the United States, many talk shows had to scramble to adapt. The studio set-up and the live audience were no longer viable options with the world at a halt. Ellen’s show was one of the shows that took a big hit. While she wasn’t off the air for long, her dedicated employees were left with many questions unanswered about employment and money during the epidemic. Ellen had hired non- unionized workers to run her show while at home, instead of keeping her initial dedicated workers. When she was called out for her actions, Ellen responded by paying back the workers and promising work post COVID-19. However, this incident left viewers wondering what Ellen would have done if she had not gotten caught and called out for this incident.
After a BuzzFeed exposé on the show, complaints kept piling up about Ellen. Many weren't just about Ellen but about her senior staff and how they would negatively treat primarily women of color. Although three of the staff members that were specifically mentioned in the BuzzFeed complaints have been fired from the show, viewers are wondering why Ellen was complacent and unfazed by this behavior for so long. These revelations have led people to speculate negatively about Ellen's character.
Another big hit to Ellen and her brand were stories about her behavior outside of her show and some allegations occurring before her fame. One story involved an allegation of her bullying a minor who was the child of a woman she worked for. Ben Gravolitz, the aforementioned child , revealed some of the negative behavior Ellen would subject him to . He alleged she would constantly criticize his weight, calling him fat and stupid, and also comment on his fashion sense. He was just a young boy at the time and Ellen was in her twenties . This story and many like it have perpetuated the idea that Ellen's character in person and on the show may not be compatible .
Audiences have continued to wonder about whether or not Ellen was as friendly as she portrayed to the cameras. She has had many stars and fans speak out about, frankly, inappropriate remarks she has made about their image,language or demeanor. Take actress Sophia Vergara, who has been on the show many times. Ellen has made some strange, not politically kind or correct comments on Sophia’s accent. She has mimicked her accent even claiming it has “gotten worse over the 10 years of filming. Ellen has also commented on her English.
So given all the recent news about Ellen, her show and her brand do you think she deserves to be canceled? Is it important for the facade she has on her show to meet her personality or are fans taking this too far?
Ryan Ford '23,