Ellen DeGeneres Says Negative Press Cycle Was ‘Orchestrated’ and ‘Misogynistic’ in First Interview After Announcing Show’s End

·3 min read

After announcing the end of her long-running daytime talk show on Wednesday, Ellen DeGeneres appeared on “Today” Thursday morning to tell Savannah Guthrie why she decided to move on and how toxic workplace allegations impacted her decision.

“If it was why I was quitting, I would have not come back this year,” DeGeneres said. “I really did think about not coming back because…it was devastating. I am a kind person. I am a person who likes to make people happy. I just kept saying to [wife] Portia [de Rossi], ‘If I was a fan of somebody and even if I loved them, 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’s a toxic work environment, which I had no idea, never saw anything that would even point to that.”

More from Variety

When Guthrie asked DeGeneres if she felt like she was being “cancelled,” the talk show host responded, “I really didn’t understand it. I still don’t understand it. 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 work 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 this is.

“I don’t know how I could have known when there’s 255 employees here and there are a lot of different buildings, unless I literally stay here until the last person goes home at night,” she continued. “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 have come to me and said, ‘Hey, something’s going on that you should know about.'”

Ellen also said that misogyny could have played a role in the press cycle.

“How can I be an example of strength and perseverance and power if I give up and run away?” she said. “And so, it really is one of the reasons I came back. I worked really hard on myself. And also, I have to say if nobody else is saying it, it was really interesting because I’m a woman, and it did feel very misogynistic.”

Following reports of a toxic workplace, DeGeneres promised to begin “a new chapter” on Sept. 21, addressing the allegations and apologizing to the people who were affected.

“As you may have heard, this summer there were allegations of a toxic work environment at our show and then there was an investigation,” DeGeneres said. “I learned that things happened here that never should have happened. I take that very seriously, and I want to say I am so sorry to the people that were affected. I know that I am in a position of privilege and power and with that comes responsibility, and I take responsibility for what happens at my show.”

Watch an extended cut of the “Today” show interview below:

Best of Variety

Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting