It’s time to tune out from the Ellen Show

Ellen DeGeneres’ performative charity should no longer warrant an audience

Ellen has faced serious backlash this summer.
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The Ellen DeGeneres Show returns this week, but in light of recent allegations against Ellen and her team, we shouldn’t tune in.

Since its premiere in 2003, the Ellen Show has dominated daytime talk show ratings. Ellen’s lighthearted monologues and daily dance segments made her a standout in daytime hosts.

However, criticisms of her workplace atmosphere have called into question her image as America’s nicest daytime talk show host.

This summer, the Ellen Show faced a series of scathing allegations slamming the set as a toxic work environment. In one extreme incident, a former employee alleges their position was eliminated from the show after they took a month off to recover from a suicide attempt.

On top of allegations of a poor work environment, several of the shows executive producers were said to have engaged in sexual misconduct and harassment towards staff. Racist comments, actions, and microaggressions made towards Black employees have also been reported.

Ellen herself has had several questionable moments on the air throughout her show’s run. From coercing Mariah Carey into admitting to being pregnant on-air in 2008 to pressing an uncomfortable Ariana Grande to discuss her love life in 2016, awkward and unpleasant moments have been cropping up long before Ellen’s friendly and loveable image was called into question.

In the face of these allegations against DeGeneres and her set, several celebrities have come forward to defend her character, including Jay Leno, Ashton Kutcher, and Katy Perry. Ashton Kutcher said, “[Ellen] and her team have only treated me and my team with respect and kindness.”

Even though various famous nameshave come forward in support of DeGeneres,these testimonies are being met with scrutiny.DeGeneres is expected to maintain a working relationship with celebrities in the entertainment industry—how she treats her peers on live television is no indication of what goes on with staff behind the scenes.

On top of her bright and cheery public image, Ellen has been celebrated as one of the most generous celebrities on television.The Ellen Show’s “12 Days of Giveaways” every holiday seasonsees Ellen give away lavish gifts to audience members for 12 straight episodes. More notoriously,Ellen is famed for her grand displays of generosity towards individuals and families in need.

While aiding viewers of the show is admirable, the performative manner in which DeGeneres goes about doing sois less impressive. Extravagant and generous gifts make for good television, but they can’t overshadow the alleged behaviour towards the staff on her show. In fact, generosity seems to be Ellen’s solution to most things: following several apologies from DeGeneres, staffers of the show will also receive increased employee benefits.

If performative charity is the primary reason why we continue to view Ellen as the kind, generous television personality she’s made herself out to be, it’s not enough to justify continuing to watch and support the show. Giving away a free television doesn’t outweigh the toxic environment she’s fostered both on-air and behind the scenes.

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