This summer has been full of challenges for Ellen DeGeneres. The talk show host stayed mostly behind closed doors while the world questioned if she really was as nice as she appeared, but now she's speaking out!
For The Ellen DeGeneres Show's season 18 premiere, DeGeneres made it clear that she wasn't making excuses, and addressed the rumours of a nasty workplace environment that engulfed the news for the past few months.
Ellen DeGeneres' emotional summer
After numerous complaints of a toxic workplace environment, Ellen DeGeneres opened up her first episode of season 18 addressing the controversy and held nothing back.
Leading up to the premiere, a source told People that DeGeneres was working hard at connecting with her employees over Zoom to really figure out how to move forward in a positive direction.
On the day of filming, the source also said that DeGeneres was greeted by her staff and crew members with a round of applause, and apparently it was a very emotional moment.
This past summer, 10 previous employees and one current employee came forward anonymously to dish about their experiences working on the show and claimed things such as being penalized for medical leave, racial micro-aggressions, and fear of retribution for forwarding complaints.
In late July, Warner Bros. launched an investigation in regards to these complaints, and it was later in August that DeGeneres spoke to all 270 of her employees over Zoom, to formally apologize, and inform her staff that three top producers - Ed Glavin, Kevin Leman, and Jonathan Norman - were fired from their team.
According to the source, employees and DeGeneres are excited to be back at work, and are hoping that this season will be the best one yet!
Ellen holds nothing back
Appearing for her first monologue, DeGeneres held nothing back for her virtual audience and started off the emotional speech on a light-hearted note.
"If you’re watching because you love me, thank you. If you’re watching because you don’t love me, welcome!" she joked.
Taking a more serious tone, DeGeneres continued, "As you may have heard, this summer there were allegations of a toxic work environment at our show, and then there was an investigation. I learned that things happened here that never should’ve happened. I take that very seriously and I want to say that I am so sorry to the people who were affected."
"I know that I’m in a position of privilege and power, and I realize that with that comes responsibility and I take responsibility for what happens at my show," she continued. "We have had a lot of conversations over the last few weeks about the show, our workplace, and what we want for the future. We have made the necessary changes and today we are starting a new chapter."
DeGeneres then addressed the rumours that she herself was not as kind as we all thought, and said she was known as the "be kind lady" which has caused people to assume she's nice all time.
"Being known as the 'Be kind' lady is a tricky position to be in," she said, before adding, "I am also a lot of other things. Sometimes I get sad, I get mad, I get anxious, I get frustrated, I get impatient. And I am working on all of that. I am a work in progress."
DeGeneres went on to say that while she is an actress, she isn't so good she could fool the world for 17 years.
"I don’t think that I’m that good that I could come out here every day for 17 years and fool you. This is me and my intention is to always be the best person I can be," she said.
"If I’ve ever let someone down if I’ve ever hurt their feelings, I am so sorry for that," she continued. "If that’s ever the case, I have let myself down and I’ve hurt myself as well because I always try to grow as a person. I look at everything that comes into my life as an opportunity to learn. I got into this business to make people laugh and feel good, that’s my favourite thing to do."
DeGeneres went on to share how she feels about the current global stresses before concluding her speech, "I want to continue to help all the people that we help every day. And I’m committed to making this the best season that we have ever had."
Watch the full monologue below: