Students react to Ellen scandal

Ellis McGinlenyCopy Editor

In a pair of July 2020 Buzzfeed articles, former staffers stepped forward about a “toxic work culture” on the production of “Ellen,” the self-titled show of comedian, host, and executive producer Ellen DeGeneres. The allegations ranged from sexual harassment complaints to racial insensitivity. Furthermore, the production company opened an investigation and found evidence of misconduct.

To students, though, DeGeneres has been less than relevant.

“The only thing I really know about her is lately, the accusations of her anger management problems,” said sculpture major Izina McBride, a senior.

Communication major Leo Palumberi, a junior, said “I don’t know a lot about her. I know she doesn’t treat her workers well and that’s about it.”

And, what students do know isn’t exactly positive.

Theatre major Samhain Perez, a freshman, said “I don’t like that she said a lot of insensitive and awful jokes and turned the anger towards the people she publicly embarrassed instead of taking responsibility. The point I found [her behavior] to be inexcusable was outing Mariah Carey as pregnant before she was ready to announce it to the world.”

This is not the first time DeGeneres has come under scrutiny. Allegations about her behavior have persisted for years. In 2016, comedian Kathy Griffin said she “has a mean streak that all of Hollywood knows about” in her book “Celebrity Run-ins: From A-Z,” according to the Huffington Post.

Kevin T. Porter, a comedian and writer, tweeted asking for stories about DeGeneres and received over 2,000 replies with differentanecdotes from behind-the-scenes, like a Personal Assistant to return his Christmas present from the producers after he found a new job.

Another reply from an artist claimed that she sent a portrait of Oprah she created and, although it was featured on the show, she never received credit.

Some other segments of “Ellen” have also been criticized for mean-spiritedness towards guests, particularly after asking about singer Taylor Swift’s dating history, imitating actress Sofia Vegara’s accent and teaching her an “English Word of the Day.”

Vegara has since denied any hostility.

This is also the first time that DeGeneres has made such a public apology, which aired on the Sept. 21 episode of “Ellen.” There she claimed responsibility for what happened on the show’s production and apologized for mistreatment that “never should have happened.”

As for allegations of her behavior off-screen, DeGeneres said she isn’t a good enough actress to “come out here every day for 17 years and fool you.”

Philosophy major Romeo Rivera, a sophomore, said “I saw her apology and I think it was really insensitive how she kind of turned herself into a victim and made jokes about it,” referencing some of the humor DeGeneres attempted to put into her apology monologue.

DeGeneres was accused of having the crew hold her chewed gum and not allowing them to make eye contact.

Jokes from her monologue included “I’m excited to see all of my staff and my crew; please don’t look me in the eye” and DeGeneres saying she would be “passing gum out for everyone.”

“I’m really disappointed. She was one of the first people, first real celebrities to come out as LGBT I’ve heard accusations of just horrible mistreatment of her employees and just general awful behavior,” said English literature major Madeline Scharf, a sophomore.

“I’ve heard rumors before, but now they’re continually proven.”

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