What do you think about when you think about Ellen DeGeneres?
Most people think of the morning talk show host as nice and bubbly. And she has spent years cultivating this image of herself as America’s sweetheart and an alternative to Hollywood snark.
First and foremost, though, Ellen is an actor. And it turns out that the real Ellen may be nothing like the one you see on television!
From hidden wealth to a seriously toxic set, here are the many reasons why Ellen DeGeneres is nothing like she seems.
Ellen doesn’t like dancing as much as you think
One of the weirder things that fans associate with Ellen is a love of dancing. They’ve seen her dance for years on The Ellen DeGeneres Show until this was simply an accepted part of who she is.
In reality, though, she doesn’t really like dancing. In her 2018 special Ellen DeGeneres: Relatable, she explained that she originally “danced as a joke.” And when that “joke” seemed to land, she kept doing it.
“And then I danced the second day, and the third day, and I was locked in.” For a while there, Ellen danced on every single episode of her hit show before finally easing out of the bit. And in retrospect, she believes that dancing that first time was a “mistake.”
Ellen uses curse words
Part of Ellen’s image is that she keeps things pretty clean. As a daytime talk show host, she can’t exactly “work blue” and use a lot of foul language. However, Ellen uses foul language much more than you might think!
For example, she once used her show to discuss an incident where she drunkenly fell into a door and dislocated her finger. According to the host, this caused her to use every curse word imaginable, and she even “invented three new ones.”
More recently, Ellen has used foul language (including the occasional “f-bomb”) on her Relatable special on Netflix. And while that special is funny, the use of raw language gives us a valuable glimpse of the real Ellen DeGeneres.
Ellen is older than you probably think
Another major part of Ellen’s brand is her youthful demeanor. She has a kind of elfin charm that hides how old the star really is.
Believe it or not, Ellen turned 62 years old in 2020. This took many fans by surprise because Ellen’s outward appearance hasn’t really changed for what seems like decades.
In fairness to Ellen, she doesn’t exactly hide her age from the public. In fact, she discussed turning 60 on her talk show, declaring “”It happened. I’m now 60 years old. I did it!” If you missed that episode, though, the truth about her actual age may be downright shocking.
Ellen is richer than you realized
Celebrity wealth is often difficult to understand. For example, we understand that someone like Ellen is rich because she has been a celebrity for many decades. But since she doesn’t exactly flaunt her wealth, you may not understand just how wealthy she really is.
Forbes reported that Ellen has a net worth of $330 million and has brought in $84 million dollars in 2020 alone. That is especially impressive when you consider she brought in this much bank during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Then again, as scandals continue to swirl around Ellen, she might be happy to have such a robust nest egg for her (possibly forced) retirement. Is there any truth to the rumors of Ellen’s cancelation? Keep reading to find out!
Allegations of writer abuse
In recent years, there have been increasing rumors and accusations about Ellen’s behavior behind the scenes of her show. And this all goes back to 2007 when accusations surfaced of how poorly she treated her writing staff.
That year, an anonymous blogger claiming to be Ellen’s former writer’s assistant wrote that the star treated her writers “like s**t.”
In 2007, Gawker reported further accusations from the assistant. The blogger said that as soon as the director yelled “cut,” Ellen would turn on the staff. “Her face would fall, and she’d level a glare at the writers. ‘Why do you keep writing these unfunny jokes?’
It didn’t help that Ellen crossed picket lines during the Writer’s Strike to continue her show. And given later allegations against the star, her alleged cruelty towards her writing staff may just be the tip of the iceberg.
Ellen allegedly bullied an 11-year-old child
When you hear accusations about Ellen abusing her writers, you might think this is a consequence of fame and fortune. Maybe she started out as a good person, and the isolation of wealth and power corrupted her.
Then again, maybe not. In August 2020, the Daily Mail reported accusations that a 20-year-old Ellen verbally abused an 11-year-old boy. That boy, Ben Gravolet, is now a grown man and ready to tell his shocking story about Ellen.
He claims that Ellen worked for a recruitment agency headed by his mother. Gravolet says, “She would criticize my weight. I would try to do homework in the office, she’d call me stupid, she’d call me fat. She would criticize my clothes…I was just a boy and this was a grown woman who took pleasure in seeing me become visibly upset.”
His verdict on Ellen is as final as it is searing. Ben said she “was just the meanest, nastiest, most horrible person” and asked what we’re all thinking: “Who takes pleasure in giving a child pain?”
Accusations that Ellen’s executive producers ‘engaged in rampant sexual misconduct’
The facade of the wholesome nature of Ellen’s talk show came was destroyed by scathing allegations recently. In July 2020, Buzzfeed reported dozens of employee allegations that Ellen’s executive producers “engaged in rampant sexual misconduct and harassment.”
Most of these accusations center on head writer/executive producer Kevin Leman and executive producer Ed Glavin. The former employees claim that Leman often touched, kissed, and groped them, going so far as to demand sexual favors in the bathroom.
They also allege that Glavin inappropriately touched female staffers, and he didn’t hesitate to scream at his staff, flip furniture over, and generally create a climate of fear and intimidation.
Where does Ellen come in? While some staffers think she didn’t know about their behavior, others believe that Ellen was aware of at least some of this abuse. And regardless of what she did or did not know, her show is now undergoing an internal investigation.
More toxic work environment allegations against ‘The Ellen Show’
In addition to an environment of sexual misconduct, 10 former and one current employee alleged to Buzzfeed a toxic work culture including racism and being “fired after taking medical leave or bereavement days to attend family funerals.”
One employee lost their job after calling out from work on three occasions. Those occasions included surviving a car accident and attending two different funerals for relatives.
Another employee was fired after they attempted suicide and checked themselves into a mental health facility. That employee noted how this added even more stress to their life during an especially trying time.
A third employee received an official warning after they created and publicized a GoFundMe campaign to cover their medical costs when their health insurance ran short. Other employees allege they received no warning about the show switching to remote taping and were left in financial limbo.
One black female former employee said she was subject to racist comments, actions and “microagressions” during her time on the show, including being reprimanded for suggesting employees receive diversity and inclusion training. To be clear, Ellen herself was not accused of racism, but others in power at her show were.
Once again, there is no way of knowing how much of this Ellen was aware of. But one employee summed it up nicely. “If she wants to have her own show and have her name on the show title, she needs to be more involved to see what’s going on.”
For her part, Ellen sent a letter to her staff, obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, in which she apologizes for the toxic workplace environment. She writes that she hoped the show “would be a place of happiness” where “everyone would be treated with respect.” She goes on to say, “Obviously, something changed, and I am disappointed to learn that this has not been the case. And for that, I am sorry.”
She also claims she was unaware of the problems: “As we’ve grown exponentially, I’ve not been able to stay on top of everything and relied on others to do their jobs as they knew I’d want them done. Clearly some didn’t. That will now change and I’m committed to ensuring this does not happen again.”
Will ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’ be canceled?
Now, Ellen is facing rumors that her show will be canceled.
However, it seems these rumors are unfounded.
Representatives for Ellen’s production company told The New York Post, “Telepictures can confirm it’s untrue.”
One of Ellen’s three executive producers, Andy Lassner, confirmed there will be no cancelation. He tweeted on July 30, “Nobody is going off the air.”
Ellen remains a highly profitable show. However, changes are coming. The Hollywood Reporter reported that executive producer Ed Glavin, accused of sexual misconduct, will be fired.