Ellen DeGeneres vows to “talk about it” in upcoming comedy special

Ellen DeGeneres
Ellen DeGeneres Photo: Coutesy of Netflix

Ellen DeGeneres has hinted that she will address the allegations of racism, sexual misconduct, and intimidation behind the scenes of her daytime talk show in her upcoming Netflix comedy special.

She’s also said the special will be her last.

Netflix announced the currently untitled special earlier this week. It’s set to drop later this year and will be DeGeneres’s second for the streaming platform after 2018’s Relatable.

“To answer the questions everyone is asking me — Yes, I’m going to talk about it. Yes this is my last special. Yes, Portia really is that pretty in real life,” the out 66-year-old comic said in a statement.

DeGeneres is no doubt referring to a series of reports published by BuzzFeed News in 2020 in which former employees of The Ellen DeGeneres Show alleged the Emmy-winning host had overseen a toxic workplace rife with racism, sexual harassment, and bullying.

Prior to the BuzzFeed stories, DeGeneres’s reputation as the “Queen of Nice” had already taken a major hit, as stories of the comedian being mean began proliferating on Twitter. Staff on her show also began speaking out about their mistreatment during the COVID-19 pandemic.

DeGeneres ended her syndicated talk show after 19 years on the air in 2022, claiming that the show was “not a challenge anymore.”

Ahead of the new Netflix special, DeGeneres also announced a multi-city stand-up tour beginning in June. But she’s already started testing material. In April, she sounded both sour and mournful onstage at the Largo at the Coronet Theater in West Hollywood.

“I got kicked out of show business,” she told the crowd, according to Rolling Stone.

“For those of you keeping score, this is the second time I’ve been kicked out of show business… Eventually they’re going to kick me out for a third time because I’m mean, old, and gay,” DeGeneres joked, referring to the cancellation of her ’90s sitcom, Ellen, after she came out.

“I’m giving stuff away… and I danced, then I was mean, and they didn’t like me again,” she continued. “It’s been such a toll on my ego and my self-esteem. There’s such extremes in this business; people either love you and idolize you or they hate you, and those people somehow are louder.”

“It was so hurtful,” she told the crowd during a post-show Q&A. “I couldn’t gain perspective. I couldn’t do anything to make myself understand that it wasn’t personal… I just thought, ‘Well this is not the way I wanted to end my career, but this is the way it’s ending.’”

“Honestly, I’m making jokes about what happened to me, but it was devastating, really,” she added. “I just hated the way the show ended. I love that show so much, and I just hated that the last time people would see me is that way.” 

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