There’s been a lot of talk recently about Ellen DeGeneres being less than nice as a person. Some people have even gone so far as to call her a bad person. Their argument has some good points.
The Ellen DeGeneres Show is a wildly popular daytime talk show, in large part due to DeGeneres’ zany antics. There are those, however, who don’t view her pranks and jokes on the show as harmless fun. The comedian’s habit of frightening people for a laugh and forcing audience members into embarrassing or uncomfortable situations as a joke doesn’t sit well with these people. They believe that there’s something mean about scaring people, even if it was an attempt at humor.
There was one segment on the show that caused concern for many. A few years back, Ellen DeGeneres featured a hidden camera segment on her show. The set up was, there was a table full of free swag for The Ellen DeGeneres Show, but there were also hidden cameras to make sure the audience members only took one each. When one audience member took more than her fair share, DeGeneres shamed her and made her sit in “Ellen Jail,” a small jail cell that had been constructed for the set. DeGeneres’ detractors claim this is evidence of the talk show host’s mean nature.
DeGeneres has also had some uncomfortable moments with her celebrity guests. Taylor Swift was a guest on DeGeneres’ talk show in 2012. Before that, she’d made multiple appearances every year since 2008, and had even sang a song about the experiences she’d had, but after this appearance didn’t return to the show until 2014. During the 2012 interview, DeGeneres poked fun at Swift about the pop star’s multiple boyfriends over the years. Then she suggested they play a game where every time a guy Swift had dated in the past showed up on screen, they’d ring a bell.
Swift said several times that she didn’t want to play the game and even told DeGeneres multiple times to “Stop it,” while appearing to be on the verge of tears. Ellen DeGeneres laughed at this, but there are those who didn’t take this as a laughing matter. It’s unclear if Swift was joking with DeGeneres or sincerely upset about the jokes made by the talk show host, but there are people who find it unfunny and cruel.
Some people also claim that DeGeneres has a problem with wanting to out pregnant celebrities on her show. In 2008, the talk show host welcomed Mariah Carey onto her show and since the pop diva had recently married her now ex-husband Nick Cannon, the hot rumor at the time was that Carey was pregnant. After straight up asking Carey if she was expecting, DeGeneres employed a crafty trick to get Carey to admit that she was pregnant. She offered Carey a glass of champagne, which the songstress refused to even sip.
In 2010, when Carey and her then-husband Cannon announced the news that they were expecting, they also revealed that they’d suffered a miscarriage. The rumors of a pregnancy turned out to be true, but Carey had a miscarriage and lost the baby. She listed media nosiness as a reason why she was so hesitant to share too many details about this current pregnancy.
Her detractors took this as proof that DeGeneres’ pushy behavior was part of the reason Carey’s first pregnancy was such a traumatic, tragic experience. Despite those claims, Carey did return to The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2010, where DeGeneres prepared a similar “trap” for her to celebrate the announcement of her pregnancy.
Then there was the now infamous viral thread that made the rounds on Twitter that called for people to share true stories about mean things DeGeneres has done. While some of the stories were obviously fabricated, and many others were the sort that could never be verified, several accounts were from people using their real names and faces. Usually when people lie, they try not to expose their identity. Though it’s almost a given that there were more false stories than true ones, there’s a chance that some of the less than flattering stories about DeGeneres are true.
Many of the stories in the Twitter thread centered on how DeGeneres treated her staff. Though those rumors aren’t worth repeating since there’s no proof attached to them to verify that they’re the real deal, there have been some recent developments that haters of Ellen DeGeneres use to prove her cold, calculating nature. After the coronavirus pandemic shut down production of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, much of the crew found themselves taking pay cuts.
Even more startling for these union workers, they discovered that DeGeneres had resumed filming her daytime talk show using a non-union, outside crew. The workers felt betrayed by the lack of clear communication surrounding their pay as well as the feeling that they were being replaced.
Of course, there are also those who take offense at DeGeneres over her politics. Though the talk show host doesn’t publicly discuss her political leanings often, it’s been surmised that she is liberal. While some people dislike DeGeneres for her left-wing politics, others don’t like her because she still hangs out with right-wing figures, like former president George W. Bush.
After photos emerged of DeGeneres and Bush sitting together at a Dallas Cowboys football game, many people thought she’d betrayed her politics by associating with the controversial political figure. DeGeneres had a heartfelt monologue on her show defending the friendship she shared with the former Republican president.
While it’s true that DeGeneres has had some awkward moments with both guests and audience members, it’s important to remember that it’s all in the name of entertainment and fun, for the most part. DeGeneres probably isn’t playing jokes on her audience and guests, or asking tough questions, out of spite or malice. She’s an entertainer and this is what entertainers do.
Though it’s definitely possible that some of the rude encounters people claimed to have via that Twitter thread are true, so are countless other stories about DeGeneres’ warmth and kindness. Is Ellen DeGeneres the nicest person in the world, or even in the entertainment industry? Probably not. But she’s also probably not the meanest woman in Hollywood, or whatever ridiculous title people try to push on her. A fair critique is a fair critique, but it seems like some people just want to just want to sow division and ill-will.