Celebrities are speaking out about their firsthand experiences with Ellen DeGeneres

cwillen@businessinsider.com (Claudia Willen)
·20 mins read
Numerous celebrities are speaking up amid the controversy surrounding Ellen DeGeneres. <p class="copyright">Amy Sussman / Getty Images; Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic/Getty Images; Frazer Harrison/Getty Images</p>
Numerous celebrities are speaking up amid the controversy surrounding Ellen DeGeneres.
  • Celebrities are taking sides on the controversy surrounding Ellen DeGeneres and her talk show, "The Ellen DeGeneres Show."

  • Current and former staffers have accused the comedian of mistreating people and fostering a toxic work environment.

  • The actor Brad Garrett is among celebrities who have shared negative sentiments about DeGeneres in the midst of the criticism.

  • Others, including Scooter Braun and Portia de Rossi, have stood up for her and defended her character.

Ellen DeGeneres has faced a backlash throughout 2020.

Following current and former staffers' claims that the talk-show host has mistreated employees and fostered a toxic work environment at "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," celebrities are taking the floor to share their own stories about the comedian.

Some stars, such as Brad Garrett and Lea Thompson, expressed their negative sentiments toward DeGeneres.

Others, including Scooter Braun and Portia de Rossi, have stood by the comedian and spoken highly about her character.

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Here's what celebrities are saying about DeGeneres.

Brad Garrett said DeGeneres' mistreatment of others was 'common knowledge'

The "Everybody Loves Raymond" actor Garrett called out the comedian via Twitter on July 31.

Garrett, who has appeared on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" multiple times, reshared Variety's article about the comedian's letter apologizing to staffers who felt disrespected.

In the letter, DeGeneres said she hadn't been able to closely manage the show as it grew in recent years.

"Sorry but it comes from the top ⁦@TheEllenShow," Garrett wrote.

The actor continued to say he knew "more than one" person who was "treated horribly" by DeGeneres, adding that her behavior was "common knowledge."

Lea Thompson echoed Garrett's claims

The "Back to the Future" actress Thompson seconded Garrett's message that DeGeneres' mistreatment of others was "common knowledge."

On July 31, Thompson replied to People's report about his comment and wrote: "True story. It is."

The actress didn't provide further details on her personal experience with the talk-show host, however.

Music manager Scooter Braun called DeGeneres a 'kind, thoughtful, courageous human being'

Braun, who manages artists like Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande, defended the comedian in a series of tweets on July 31.

"People love to take shots at people," he wrote. "They love to see people fall. How quickly so many forget."

Braun continued to describe DeGeneres as a "kind, thoughtful, courageous human being who stands for what is right and highlights on her show the best of us," adding that she'd used her platform to "change the views for equality."

"Needed to say this as I know first hand how she helps so many when we are watching and when we are not," he wrote. "She isn't about what is popular she is about what is right. Sending love to Ellen today."

Portia de Rossi, DeGeneres' wife, shared a message in support of the comedian

The model Portia de Rossi spoke out in support of DeGeneres in an Instagram post on August 3.

De Rossi, who married the comedian in 2008, shared a picture that said "I Stand By Ellen" on it along with the show's mantra, "Be Kind To One Another," in the corner.

She captioned the post: "To all our fans....we see you. Thank you for your support."

The celebrities Kris Jenner, Nacho Figueras, and Brandi Carlile were among those who liked and commented on de Rossi's post.

Argentine polo player Nacho Figueras said DeGeneres 'makes the world a better place'

In an Instagram post he shared August 2, Figueras opened up about his friendship with DeGeneres and called on others with platforms to defend the talk-show host.

After saying he'd waited for "someone with more authority" to speak up about DeGeneres' character, Figueras reflected on his own appearances on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" and called it a "very well run machine."

"Everyone was super nice, not just to me but to each other and anyone involved," he wrote.

Figueras went on to say he'd seen DeGeneres treat people kindly both on and off of her show.

"I have seen Ellen act not just in her show but in public appearances in theaters where she is nice to absolutely everyone, the guy serving the coffee, the person in the elevator, the security guy and the owner of the venue," Figueras said.

He added: "Everyone loves her because that is who she is. She makes the world a better place for millions of people everyday."

The athlete then challenged some of DeGeneres' friends — like Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Lopez, Michelle Obama, Pink, Sean Hayes, Lady Gaga, Oprah, Katy Perry, and Justin Timberlake — to share their experiences with the comedian.

"The world has become a very dangerous place because it seems that we cannot make anything right," he wrote. "If I am going to be criticized for defending someone that I think deserves to be defended then so be it."

Katy Perry drew attention to the talk-show host's 'light & continual fight for equality'

Perry shared a positive message about DeGeneres in a series of tweets on August 4.

Prefacing her message by saying she's speaking from her own firsthand experience with the comedian, the pop star said she wanted to acknowledge she's "only ever had positive takeaways" from both DeGeneres and her show.

"I think we all have witnessed the light & continual fight for equality that she has brought to the world through her platform for decades," she wrote. "Sending you love & a hug, friend."

Perry spoke about her decision to publicly support DeGeneres during an interview with The Los Angeles Times on Wednesday.

"I started that tweet off not undermining anyone else's experience," Perry said. "I wanted to only speak from my own experience. I have over 100 million people that follow me on Twitter, so not everyone is going to agree with me. And I'm not here to make everyone agree with me."

Samantha Ronson said DeGeneres had consistently been 'respectful and kind' to her

The British DJ Samantha Ronson spoke about her interactions with the talk-show host.

"Unpopular opinion: I've worked for @TheEllenShow as a dj, for her parties, for years and she has ALWAYS been respectful and kind to me," she wrote in a tweet August 3.

When a Twitter user pointed out that she was a "celebrity guest" on the show rather than a staffer, Ronson responded: "I wasn't a celebrity guest. I was an employee. Very different. Trust me."

Someone else wrote that DeGeneres was kind only to people with a "certain stature," like Ronson, and the DJ said she "knew this was coming."

"You'd be surprised by how many people are super rude when you become someone they are writing a cheque to," she wrote. "It's super disappointing."

Diane Keaton said DeGeneres 'gives back to so many'

The "Something's Gotta Give" actress Diane Keaton posted an Instagram photo on August 4 of herself and the talk-show host filming an episode of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show."

"I ALWAYS ENJOYED MY VISITS TO THE ELLEN SHOW," she captioned the picture. "I'VE SEEN HOW THE AUDIENCE EXUDES HAPPINESS AND GRATITUDE. SHE GIVES BACK TO SO MANY INCLUDING ME."

Kevin Hart said the talk-show host was 'one of the dopest people on the f---ing planet'

The comedian Kevin Hart shared a photo from one of his visits to "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" via Instagram on August 4.

"It's crazy to see my friend go thru what she's going thru publicly. I have known Ellen for years and I can honestly say that she's one of the dopest people on the f---ing planet. She has treated my family and my team with love and respect from day 1," he captioned the photo.

Hart — who stepped down from hosting the 2019 Oscars following a backlash over his past homophobic tweets — then criticized the public for "falling in love" with people's downfalls.

"It's honestly sad...When did we get here?" he added. "I stand by the ones that I know and that I love. Looking forward to the future where we get back to loving one another....this hate s--- has to stop. Hopefully it goes out of style soon."

The comedian said his message wasn't meant to "disregard the feelings of others and their experiences" but rather to "show what my experiences have been with my friend."

Ashton Kutcher claimed that DeGeneres 'never pandered to celebrity'

In a tweet the actor shared on August 4, he said that the talk show host treated everyone — both celebrities and nonfamous individuals — with the same "respect & kindness."

"I haven't spoken with @TheEllenShow and can only speak from my own experience. She & her team have only treated me & my team w/ respect & kindness. She never pandered to celebrity which I always saw as a refreshing honesty. When things aren't right she handles it and fixes," he wrote.

People replied to Kutcher's tweet to explain that mainly staffers, not celebrities, are coming forward about a toxic work environment and sexual misconduct at "The Ellen DeGeneres Show."

One person tweeted that the celebrities coming forward to defend DeGeneres are "invalidating" what current and former employees "experienced on a regular basis."

"I understand," Kutcher responded.

Another individual said that he doesn't have a full perspective on the issue since he's a famous actor.

He replied, "But it extends to my team and people she didn't even know I work with."

Jerry O'Connell reposted the same photo as de Rossi

The "Stand By Me" actor shared a blue square that read, "I Stand With Ellen" on Instagram on August 4.

O'Connell tagged both de Rossi and DeGeneres in the post and wrote: "Love Ellen and Portia. Always have. Always will."

The actor told Entertainment Tonight that his longtime friendship with the couple drove him to share his support for DeGeneres.

"I've known Ellen and Portia for almost three decades now and I saw that Portia… Instagrammed out, 'All of our friends, we need your support right now.' And I felt compelled to repost it," he told the outlet, adding, "I just wanted Ellen and Portia to know that I love them very much."

While many of the celebrities defending the comedian have faced backlash, O'Connell said that he's not letting the public affect his relationships.

"I'm not gonna let Instagram comments and Twitter comments tell me who can and can't be my friends," he said.

O'Connell explained that he does "believe all victims" and "all stories" from former and current staffers, admitting that "something has to change in that work environment."

"But I do love Portia and Ellen. I do. And it's gonna take a lot to change my love for them," he said.

Jay Leno said he won't 'discard a 40-year friendship on hearsay'

The former host of NBC's "The Tonight Show" offered his full support to DeGeneres on August 4.

"I don't discard a 40-year friendship on hearsay. The Ellen I know has raised over $125 million dollars for charity and has always been a kind and decent person. I fully support her," he wrote on Twitter.

Actor Andy Richter pointed out the irony of DeGeneres' entire show's mantra to 'Be Kind'

"A Black Lady Sketch Show" actress Ashley Nicole Black tweeted a message addressing the toxic work environments that are "widely accepted" in the television industry on August 5.

"I don't think it's that celebs 'don't know' people treat them differently. I think it's that toxic workplaces are widely accepted in this industry, ppl are expected not to complain, and higher ups dont care how folks are treated as long as the work is done on time and on budget," she wrote.

Actor Andy Richter, who often appears on TBS' "Conan," agreed with Black and highlighted the hypocrisy of DeGeneres' "Be Kind" mantra given former staffers' accusations about the host.

"I agree," he wrote, adding, "Although there's toxicity tolerated by higher-ups in every industry, but few of those workplaces are controlled by a manager who's entire brand is being 'nice.'"

Howard Stern gave advice to the comedian on his show

On an episode of SiriusXM's "Howard Stern Show" on August 10, the radio personality said that he'd "change his whole image" if he was in DeGeneres' shoes.

"I'd go on the air and be a son of a b----," he said, adding, "People would come on and I would go, 'F--- you.' Just be a prick."

Both Howard and his wife Beth have both appeared on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" several times and have been longtime friends with the host. During a 2019 episode of the show, Howard and Beth even remarried each other in front of the studio audience.

Musician Phoebe Bridgers called the talk-show host 'ellen degenerate'

Amid the backlash against DeGeneres, the "Garden Song" singer used a pun to give her own two cents about the comedian.

She wrote "ellen degenerate" on Twitter, but Bridgers didn't elaborate on her own personal experience with the host.

Octavia Spencer said all her experiences on 'The Ellen DeGeneres Show' have been 'supportive and fun'

The actress, who's appeared on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" numerous times over the years, issued a statement supporting DeGeneres via Instagram on August 13.

"Sending love and support to Ellen and all of the employees of her show," Spencer began.

She continued to share that her interactions with "everyone from the show including ELLEN" were "supportive and fun" and said she's "praying" for the people involved.

Spencer also said she believes "all of the voices of her employees need to be heard" and explained that she's only speaking from her own personal experience with the comedian and her show.

"Speaking truth to power is the only way change happens. My truth is everyone was kind to me. From the PAs to the producers. So yeah! I want all of those people to feel valued and heard. And no, people are NOT always kind to talent," she wrote.

After fans accused DeGeneres of mocking Sofia Vergara's accent on the show, the actress said she was 'always in on the joke'

The Colombian-American actress has appeared on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" numerous times throughout the years. In the midst of the accusations against the show, her fans began circulating her interviews with DeGeneres and accused the host of mocking Vergara's accent.

On August 21, the "Modern Family" actress posted a video from her 2015 "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" appearance on Twitter and shut down claims that the host was making fun of her.

She wrote: "Two comedians having fun with each other to entertain. I was never a victim guys, I was always in on the joke."

Mariah Carey said she was 'extremely uncomfortable' during her 2008 interview on the show

When the "We Belong Together" singer appeared on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" in 2008, the host pushed her to announce her pregnancy.

Carey quietly said that she prefers not to discuss that on television, so DeGeneres asked her to "toast with champagne" instead, effectively forcing her to admit whether or not she was carrying a child since pregnant women are advised against drinking alcohol.

"I can't believe you did this to me, Ellen," Carey said.

DeGeneres then said, "Let's toast to you not being pregnant if you're not pregnant."

The singer continued to stall by making excuses like the time of day or champagne's "fattening" effects, leading the host to yell, "You're pregnant!"

Carey miscarried shortly after the interview.

The clip resurfaced online 18 years later amid the controversy surrounding DeGeneres, and Carey revealed that the moment made her "extremely uncomfortable" during an August 2020 interview with Vulture.

"I was extremely uncomfortable with that moment is all I can say. And I really have had a hard time grappling with the aftermath," she told the outlet.

Carey continued, "I wasn't ready to tell anyone because I had had a miscarriage. I don't want to throw anyone that's already being thrown under any proverbial bus, but I didn't enjoy that moment."

The singer finished by stating that there's "an empathy that can be applied to those moments that I would have liked to have been implemented. But what am I supposed to do? It's like, 'What are you going to do?'"

Steve Harvey called DeGeneres one of the 'coolest and kindest people' in entertainment

Ellen DeGeneres and Steve Harvey are friends. <p class="copyright">Jonathan Leibson / Getty Images</p>
Ellen DeGeneres and Steve Harvey are friends.

The comedian came to DeGeneres' defense on an episode of "PEOPLE (The TV Show!)" that aired on September 17.

"I'm going to say this about it: Ellen DeGeneres, the person that I know, that I've known for a number of years, that I saw back in the comedy club days, when we used to split time with the same management, all of this and what's happening now, Ellen, the person, is probably one of the coolest and kindest people I've met in this business," he said.

Though DeGeneres' show returned on September 21 after a break, Harvey previously told Entertainment Tonight that he'd "walk away" from "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" if he were her.

"Ellen has got a lot of money. If I was Ellen, I'd just walk away," he said, adding, "She got enough. I wouldn't let them drag me down like that!"

The comedians have been friends for years, and Harvey has appeared on DeGeneres' show several times. They also cocreated and coproduced the show "Little Big Shots" together in 2016.

Alec Baldwin told DeGeneres that she was 'one of the most funny and talented people' in show business

During his appearance on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" on Wednesday, Baldwin shared words of encouragement with the talk-show host via video chat.

"I have followed your career from when you were doing stand-up and you were a solo performer. I've watched the films you've done, and I've watched your success on this TV show, and you are one of the funniest and most talented women, one of the most funny and talented people, in all of show business," he told her.

Baldwin added, "We all have some patches of white water here, but you keep going. Don't you stop doing what you're doing."

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