When the Duke and Duchess of Sussex made their dramatic move to North America in January, many expected the couple to fall into the welcoming arms of U.S. television before too long.
The Duchess, said friends, wanted a sympathetic ear for her tale of perceived woe at the hands of the Royal Family and the British Press.
And no one ‘does sympathetic’ or understands pain like Ellen DeGeneres, Queen of Daytime TV and a presenter with an unmatched reputation for saccharine niceness and empathy.
Her piercing blue eyes appear to be perpetually welling with tears of compassion, especially when she exhorts viewers to ‘be kind to one another’ — her trademark catchphrase, delivered at the end of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, which has been running for 17 years.
No one ‘does sympathetic’ or understands pain like Ellen DeGeneres (left with her wife, actress Portia de Rossi), Queen of Daytime TV and a presenter with an unmatched reputation for saccharine niceness and empathy
She and the Duchess seemed to be made for each other. And, of course, they were already friends. DeGeneres, 62, visited the Sussexes in London and even got to hold baby Archie.
Meghan has credited DeGeneres with persuading her to adopt a dog when they once bumped into each other at a Los Angeles animal shelter.
As the Sussexes made headlines around the world for their decision to step down from royal duties, DeGeneres defended the couple on her show.
‘I see them get attacked and it’s not fair,’ she gushed. ‘They are two of the most down-to-earth, compassionate people; they’re doing so much good for the world.’
But she didn’t get the gig — so far no one has managed to secure a place on a sofa for that heart-to-heart with Harry and Meghan.
In Ellen’s case, it now looks as though she never will.
In the most vertiginous Hollywood fall from grace for years, Ellen DeGeneres, who is worth around £254 million, is being torn to pieces by the fans who once idolised her — particularly after she came out as gay in 1997, an admission that caused a temporary blip in her career trajectory but soon had her on the cover of Time Magazine under the headline ‘Daring to be Real’.
For it turns out that Ellen is perhaps not quite as nice as everyone thought.
In the most vertiginous Hollywood fall from grace for years, Ellen DeGeneres (right, with singer Taylor Swift), who is worth around £254 million, is being torn to pieces by the fans who once idolised her
Warners Bros, which owns the production company that makes The Ellen DeGeneres Show for NBC, has begun an investigation after at least 36 past and present staff accused her of presiding over a toxic workplace rife with racism, bullying, intimidation and sexual harassment, as reported by news website Buzzfeed.
The official investigation so far has found ‘some deficiencies related to the show’s day-to-day management’.
Some staff said they’d been sacked after taking days off to attend funerals. ‘Her “be kind” bull**** only happens when the cameras are on. It’s all for show,’ said an employee.
Warner Bros, which according to Forbes makes £27 million a year from her show, insists DeGeneres herself isn’t under investigation — three of her producers face accusations of bullying and sexual misconduct.
Warners Bros, which owns the production company that makes The Ellen DeGeneres Show for NBC, has begun an investigation after at least 36 past and present staff accused her of presiding over a toxic workplace rife with racism, bullying, intimidation and sexual harassment
However, some allegations have focused specifically on her. She sent an email to staff, expressing surprise that their workplace wasn’t a ‘place of happiness’ and pledging to ‘correct the issues’.
DeGeneres is not accused of any of the offences, but she said in her email: ‘My name is on the show and everything we do, and I take responsibility for that.’
Several ex-employees told Buzzfeed they were surprised she hadn’t heard the rumours about the accused producers as she works so closely with them.
‘It’s very hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that she doesn’t hear the same whispers,’ said one. ‘Unless she really is in this bubble.’
Industry insiders insist DeGeneres will tough it out, but she’s reportedly ‘crushed’ by the controversy and the threatened demise of her glittering career as ratings plummeted from 4.2 million per episode to a record low of 1.2 million last month.
Replacement hosts including Jennifer Aniston and British comedian James Corden have been mooted although, as the show was DeGeneres’s idea, it might just be scrapped.
So where did it all go wrong? Ellen’s travails began in mid-March, as much of the U.S. went into lockdown looking for distractions.
American comedian Kevin Porter tweeted that Ellen was ‘notoriously the meanest person alive’, and offered to give $2 to charity for every example someone shared.
Ellen DeGeneres (pictured) will come back to host her show's 18th season as investigations into allegations of a toxic workplace continue
He said he made his fateful tweet for no particular reason, telling the New York Post: ‘It was just a thought I had rolling out of bed — it seemed like a fun, creative way to raise money for charity.’
Many assumed that Porter was joking — but as he received 2,700 responses to his request, the devastating stories came thick and fast. One woman, a former waitress, claimed DeGeneres had written to her boss to complain that she had ‘chipped nail polish’ when she served her.
A former producer on the show, Hedda Muskat, said she had noticed a ‘culture of fear’ when she started working on it as it launched in 2003. ‘I had never been around a toxic host,’ she said.
When a producer screamed red-faced at a crew member during a meeting, DeGeneres just ‘giggled’ and said: ‘Well, I guess every production needs its dog,’ Ms Muskat recalled.sonos sonos One (Gen 2) - Voice Controlled Smart Speaker with Amazon Alexa Built-in - Black read more
Neil Breen, a former executive producer of an Australian