Ellen DeGeneres plans on wrapping up her show in 2022, the host revealed in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, published on Wednesday, May 12.
The Ellen DeGeneres Show, which debuted in 2003, came under scrutiny last year after multiple allegations of toxic behavior surfaced. Following an internal investigation, DeGeneres vowed to make sure things changed. Degeneres noted that the reports “almost impacted the show.” She admitted that the toxic workplace allegations were “very hurtful,” but they are not the reason she’s ending her talk show.
There had been previous rumors of employees being unhappy at The Ellen DeGeneres Show and of DeGeneres being a difficult person prior to Buzzfeed News publishing a comprehensive report of the claims in July 2020.
There were accusations that the show’s producers had racism, retaliation, and favoritism perpetrate. Employees also claimed that the pandemic complicated issues regarding what plans were for continuing amid COVID and whether their jobs and salaries were secure. Many of the employees were left totally in the dark.
DeGeneres herself wasn’t directly implicated in these “toxic” accusations. Many employees blamed her for ignoring these issues and allowed the culture to worsen. Degeneres’s slogan “Be Kind” is merely a motto “all for the show,” according to one employee.
“I learned that things happened here that never should have happened,” she said. “I take that very seriously and I want to say I am so sorry to the people who were affected. I know that I’m in a position of privilege and power and I realized that with that comes responsibility, and I take responsibility for what happens at my show.”
That didn’t stop the fallout. The New York Times reported in March 2021 that the show’s ratings continued to plummet.
Speaking to THR, DeGeneres looked back on the firestorm around the show and defended herself by claiming good intentions.
“My whole being is about making people happy. And with the talk show, all I cared about was spreading kindness and compassion and everything I stand for was being attacked,” she said. “So, it destroyed me, honestly. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t.”
“I’m not a scary person,” she said. “I’m really easy to talk to”
“And it makes me really sad that there’s so much joy out there from negativity,” DeGeneres continued. “It’s a culture now where there are just mean people, and it’s so foreign to me that people get joy out of that. Then, on the heels of it, there are allegations of a toxic workplace and, unfortunately, I learned that through the press. And at first I didn’t believe it because I know how happy everybody is here and how every guest talks about, ‘Man, you have a great place here. Of all the talk shows I’ve done, everyone here is so happy.’ That’s all I’ve ever heard.”
Okay, so what’s the real reason Ellen is ending her show?
“Look, it’s going to be really hard on the last day, but I also know it’s time,” the host explained. “I’m a creative person, and when you’re a creative person you constantly need to be challenged, which is why I decided to host the Oscars or why I decided to go back to stand up when I didn’t think I would. I just needed something to challenge me. And as great as this show is, and as fun as it is, it’s just not a challenge anymore. I need something new to challenge me.”
She’s keeping the future open
“I’ve been trying to think about that,” she said to THR. “I have some ideas but my agent is just like, ‘Why don’t you just sit still for a minute. You probably don’t even know how exhausted you are and what it’s going to be like to sit still.’ And I don’t know how long I’ll be able to do that because I’m like a Ferrari in neutral. I’m constantly needing to go.”
“I just needed something to challenge me.
“And as great as this show is, and as fun as it is, it’s just not a challenge anymore.”
The host concluded: “I need something new to challenge me.”