Last year, BuzzFeed News led the charge in investigating and exposing the allegedly "toxic workplace" at The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Now, ahead of the talk show's final week on air, BuzzFeed News looks back on the chatfest's rise and fall and its "complicated" legacy.
At one point, Ellen was the go-to daytime gig for up-and-coming stars. A publicist who remained anonymous told the site:
Once upon a time, in the heyday of Ellen, that show was a career-defining booking for certain talent on the up and up, talent that were really trying to be a part of Hollywood in a big way. It was the daytime booking to get, and oftentimes led to late-night show opportunities and magazine covers. You would prioritize that because it was so meaningful and was so widely syndicated; it was a different level than booking the Today show or Good Morning America. There was something about it that felt really premium that felt like you’d broken through and made it.
Eventually, though, celebs apparently heard about the goings-on at Ellen and preferred to head to The Kelly Clarkson Show or The Drew Barrymore Show instead. An ex-employee stated:
Hollywood knows what The Ellen Show was. People knew her and knew what the show was. It had a bad reputation — there’s no pulling the wool over anyone’s eyes in Hollywood. For the rest of middle America and the general viewing public, they probably bought into whatever’s being fed, but I don't think anyone in Hollywood is like, ‘Ellen is really awesome and those stories were just a fluke.’ I see it for what it is, which is a money-making machine. That’s all. She’s an entertainer and it’s complicated.
Another former Ellen staffer shared just what made their experience on the daytime staple so complicated. They explained:
My parents have never been prouder than when I worked at The Ellen Show despite the fact that it was a miserable experience for me and most of the people who were there. I understand her cultural impact and I understand her impact on society and how people treat LGBTQ folk, but I also know that the personal and the political aren’t always the same, and despite her being an important figure in Hollywood and cultural history, I will never have fond feelings towards her or that show.