EXCLUSIVE: At least three former staffers once employed by ellen-degeneres” target=”_blank”>Ellen DeGeneres<, and they all share one common view: they’re “not surprised.”
Fox News spoke to three employees who worked on shows starring DeGeneres, including one whose time working for the star dates back to the 1990s when the “Ellen” sitcom was at its peak. Each former staffer agreed the comedienne’s charisma was obvious on camera, but behind closed doors, they allege they saw an opposing view of her “true” character.
One former crew member employed by the Walt Disney Co. in the ‘90s who provided security for the studio where “Ellen” was filmed claims DeGeneres’ exit from television is something he’s been waiting for decades.
“This has been a long time coming,” the former staffer, who wished to remain anonymous, told Fox News in an interview this week. “When the ‘Ellen’ sitcom ended, a lot of people on set were relieved. It caught me off guard when the talk show started. I was like, Isn’t anybody aware what’s going on that the staff at the ‘Ellen’ show had seen?’ I thought, Why is this continuing?”
Reps for DeGeneres and the “Ellen DeGeneres Show” did not return Fox News’ requests for comment. Warner Media declined to comment.
‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’ has come under fire for its toxic workplace in the past year.
The former staffer detailed the dedication the crew provided to DeGeneres at that time.
“We spent a lot of time on the stage going over doors, metal detectors, understanding signs of obsessed fans to look out for, and then every time there was a break from each take, we would escort Ellen to her trailer,” the ex-employee said.
“She would close the door, and whoever was invited in her trailer was her business, obviously. But we’d stand right outside and were ready when it opened. That’s normally how it worked. But she didn’t give a damn about anybody. It was all about her,” the ex-Walt Disney Co. employee said.
The first staffer concluded years ago that DeGeneres is “not a very nice, cordial person” and “unpleasant.” He added that the apology DeGeneres delivered viewers during her Season 18 opener last September came “too late.”
“She didn’t get ahead of it. It wasn’t a heartfelt apology because she really did hurt a lot of people. For my taste, I think that at that point you’re in survival mode and I felt like that was where she was at. I don’t know why she didn’t address it sooner,” the first ex-employee added.
DeGeneres’ show is in its 18th season.
Also starring in “Ellen” were Jeremy Piven and Joely Fisher, two stars who the ex-employee said were “nothing” like DeGeneres off-camera.
“Joely was amazing, very caring,” said the source. “Just a simple ‘Hey, thank you for being here’ is all we were looking for. Jeremy Piven would acknowledge people. But not Ellen.”
“The Ellen DeGeneres Show” began in 2003 and, as so many viewers know, became an instant hit. Her comic chops were adored by the public, and the host has long received praise for the hundreds of charitable efforts her show made to improve others’ lives.
But DeGeneres’ hosting duties didn’t just take place on her namesake show’s stage. DeGeneres has been the host of one-off programs and even hosted the 2014 Oscars. Last July, Tom Majercak, the bodyguard whose job it was to protect DeGeneres throughout the awards show, claimed to Fox News in an exclusive interview that she was “cold” to him.
On Thursday, Majercak spoke to Fox News about the demise of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” on the heels of her announcement that it will end in 2022.
Degeneres has had countless high-profile guests on her show, including A-list celebrities like Rob Lowe (pictured) and former presidents.
“I’m not surprised. I hope that I was somewhat of a catalyst to giving others support to allow them to feel comfortable enough to step up and say, ‘You know what? I felt this too,'” he shared.
Majercak stressed he’s not happy the show is ending, but he’s also not in shock that her exit comes around the one-year anniversary of when dozens of staffers spoke up about toxic behavior on set in a expose published by Buzzfeed News.
“It’s about time,” Majercak said of the show’s end. “With the cancel culture out there, people are getting canceled for the silliest of things, but this person can manipulate people and treat people the way they want, day in and day out, because of their title or status.”
The former bodyguard said he hopes DeGeneres understands where so many of her staffers are coming from.
“People put a lot of thought into watching the ‘Ellen DeGeneres Show.’ Some people set their lives up around what she talks about, what she recommends, and how she lives her life,” he said. “Deep down, I hope that some people finally realize there was some not-so-honest persona taking place in front of our eyes. Am I glad the show’s ending? No. Am I surprised it happened? No. Did it need to happen? Yes.”
“This has been a long time coming.”
— former ‘Ellen’ staffer
Majercak previously told Fox News that he not only provided security to DeGeneres during the night of the 86th Academy Awards but also to her mother and wife, Portia de Rossi. The latter he praised for being polite.
“I’m holding their hands and walking them through individuals and large groups of people. Ellen is the one person that I’ve been assigned to — and I’ve been assigned to quite a few celebrities — that has never taken the time to say hi to me,” Majercak claimed.
What’s more, a third former staffer, speaking on anonymity, who worked on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” set for a couple years beginning in 2016, said friends and family members “would never believe” him when he previously spoke about her allegedly rude behavior.
“It was just not the greatest place to work. You always felt like there was something different when you walked on that set. Everyone was stressed. There was a toxic element, and it’s because people are so on edge, and it’s because of her,” the third former staffer alleged.
The third ex-employee said crew members “didn’t have the freedom to talk or be yourself because of whatever controlling issue she had.” This crew member further claimed he had met DeGeneres on the set of “The Bernie Mac Show” prior to joining her talk show and felt she was an entirely different person.
“She was a guest star on ‘Bernie’ and she was really sweet. When I got to ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’ and said hi to her, she looked at me like I was blacked out. I was told after that in no way, shape or form that I was supposed to speak to her directly,” the third source claimed.
The third employee alleged there was one staffer whose job it was to mop the floors of the “Ellen DeGeneres” stage each day. This crew member allegedly would speak of the fact that not once did DeGeneres ever acknowledge him.
“He worked there for years and she never once acknowledged him. He would tell others that he never got a ‘thank you,’ a ‘hello,’ or ‘how are you doing?’”
“It was just not the greatest place to work. You always felt like there was something different when you walked on that set. Everyone was stressed. There was a toxic element.”
— former ‘Ellen DeGeneres Show’ staff member
The staffer said “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” end has been a long time brewing.
“Hopefully she sees the error of her ways and she’ll change her behavior in the future and treat people normally, kindly and nice,” the ex-staffer said. “Nobody likes to see a show end or their paycheck stop, but I’m sure a lot of people on that set are probably relieved that it’s over.”
Ellen DeGeneres introduces Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus during the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards on Jan. 26, 2020, in Los Angeles.
(ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)
On Thursday, “Today” aired a sit-down interview between DeGeneres and Savannah Guthrie, in which the comedienne claimed she is not leaving because of the toxic workplace scandal that plagued the show in 2020.
“If I was quitting I would not have come back this year,” she said. “I really did think about not coming back. It was devastating. I am a kind person. I am a person who likes to make people happy. I just kept saying to Portia [de Rossi], if I was a fan of somebody and even if I wasn’t, I would think there must be some truth to it because it’s not stopping. Right on the heels of that, I read in the press that there was a toxic work environment. I had no idea. I never saw anything that would even point to that.”
DeGeneres went on to share she “really didn’t understand” the backlash she received.
“I still don’t understand it. I thought something was going on because it was too orchestrated. It was too coordinated. People get picked on, but for four months straight for me. And then for me to read in the press about a toxic workplace 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.”
She announced the show’s end to the Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday, confirming it will wrap after Season 19 in 2022.
DeGeneres said she informed staff of the decision on May 11. Later on Thursday, DeGeneres will be joined by Oprah Winfrey during her May 13 episode to further discuss the show’s final season.
ellen-degeneres” target=”_blank”>DeGeneres< following the star’s toxic workplace scandal that dominated headlines last year.
Per Nielsen’s ratings in March, “tv” target=”_blank”>The Ellen DeGeneres Show< that marred the show over the summer. In August 2020, Fox News learned three producers of the talk show were ousted after a number of employees voiced sexual misconduct claims.
In April 2020, crew members of her namesake talk show leaked details about the television host’s lack of support amid the infectious-disease pandemic, including claims she left employees in the dark about the status of their jobs and pay. A major beauty influencer who appeared on her talk show in January also claimed DeGeneres was particularly “cold” and gave preferential treatment to A-list guests.
In her September apology, DeGeneres addressed the accusations that she is much different on-air than in person despite her pledge to “be kind.”
The phrase “be kind” was initially brought up by the host in 2010 to bring awareness to Tyler Clementi, who committed suicide as a teenager after he was bullied for being gay.
She added: “I thought the world needed more kindness and it was a reminder that we all needed that, and I think we need it more than ever right now.”
“Being known as the ‘be kind’ lady is a tricky position to be in. So let me give you some advice out there if anybody’s thinking of changing their title or giving yourself a nickname, do not go with the ‘be kind’ lady. Don’t do it,” DeGeneres jokingly added.