Ellen DeGeneres addressed speculation that a toxic work environment on her daytime talk show led to her decision to end the eponymous series after 19 seasons. “If it was why I was quitting, I would have not come back this year,” the longtime comedian, 63, told Savannah Guthrie during the May 13 episode of Today. “I really did think about not coming back,” she emphasized.
“It was devastating,” Ellen continued, referring to employees who worked on Ellen who alleged that the environment was incredibly toxic. A review of the workplace was done by WarnerMedia at the end of July 2020. Ellen later addressed those allegations in a statement, sharing her sadness and disappointment.
“I’m proud of the kind of show we do.”
Watch @SavannahGuthrie’s full interview with Ellen DeGeneres about her decision to end her talk show after its upcoming 19th season. DeGeneres says allegations of a toxic work environment on the show are not the reason for her decision. pic.twitter.com/nVbDlAuHpv
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) May 13, 2021
But as for the news that Ellen’s long-running talk show will come to an end in 2022, she assured Savannah that it was not due to the environment or the internal review. “I am a kind person,” Ellen told Savannah. “I just kept saying to Portia [de Rossi, Ellen’s wife], ‘If I was a fan of somebody and I loved them, I’d have to think, there must be some truth to it.'” Ellen explained that “right on the heels” of reports that her kindness wasn’t as genuine as it seemed, employees came forward with their allegations.
“I read in the press that there’s a toxic work environment,” Ellen reflected. “I had no idea; never saw anything that would even point to that,” she said. “I still don’t understand it,” Ellen went on. “I don’t know how I could’ve known when there’s 255 employees here…It is my name on the show, so clearly it affects me and I have to be the one to stand up and say, ‘This can’t be tolerated.’ But I do wish somebody would’ve come to me and said, ‘Hey, something’s going on that you should know about.'”Ellen’s interview with Today comes just one day after the talk show host announced that her show would be coming to an end. “When you’re a creative person, you constantly need to be challenged… and as great as this show is, and as fun as it is, it’s just not a challenge anymore,” Ellen said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. Prior to the public announcement on May 12, Ellen shared the news with her staff one day prior, May 11.