May 23, 2024

Ellen DeGeneres returned to her hit talk show Sept. 18 for its 18th season after the show came under fire for a toxic work environment, which started an internal investigation into the show.

“The Ellen DeGeneres Show” was shut down back in spring due to COVID-19 and was late to return due to controversy and backlash. 

In the season premiere, DeGeneres started the show by addressing the investigation and the rumors.

“As you may have heard this summer, there were allegations of a toxic work environment at our show,” DeGeneres said. “And then there was an investigation. I learned that things happened here that never should have happened. I take that very seriously. And I want to say, I am so sorry to the people who were affected.”

Following her opening apology she continued: saying, “I know that I’m in a position of privilege and power. I realized that with that comes responsibility and I take responsibility for what happens at my show. This is ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show.’ I am Ellen DeGeneres. We have had a lot of conversations over the last few weeks about the show, our workplace and what we want for the future. We have made the necessary changes. And today we are starting a new chapter.”

She then went on to address the personal rumors and attacks of her behavior and character.

“My intention is to always be the best person I can be. And if I’ve ever let someone down, if I’ve ever hurt their feelings, I am so sorry for that. If that’s ever the case, I have let myself down and I’ve hurt myself as well because I always try to grow as a person. I look at everything that comes into my life as an opportunity to learn. I got into this business to make people laugh and feel good.”

Back in July, the show was put under an internal investigation by Warner Media following a slew of allegations. 

These allegations stemmed from a Buzzfeed article that featured comments from 11 both former and current staffers who described the show’s toxic work environment.

Within the article, claims against the host and executive producers included racism, sexism, workplace intimidation and other mistreatments. As a result, three of the show’s top executive producers exited the show weeks before its season 18 premiere.

Fans of the talk show host were enraged and discouraged by the alleged racial discrimination and inhuman treatment. A Twitter campaign was started calling for the host and her television show to be “canceled.”

Cancel culture has become a widespread conversation and trend within social media. The world has easily flipped on stars over past and current mistakes, ending the careers of some public figures.

Phillip Cuneo, sophomore health science major, spoke on cancel culture through a Christian lens.

“I do not think anyone has grounds to ‘cancel’ anyone because we are all living in sin that is just as bad,” Cuneo said. “However, there should be some sort of accountability being held within smaller confines.”

Ramah Shirey, junior worship arts and theater double major, spoke on the canceling specifically of DeGeneres.

“This doesn’t sound like a one-time mistake that she had regrets from before it got released to the public,” Shirey said. “I don’t know if I would use the word “cancel,” but I do not want to support that kind of behavior. That being said, I also do not want to hate her or bash her because that wouldn’t solve any problems. It’s good to let people know that they shouldn’t act a certain way.”

Many are skeptical of the return of Ellen Degeneres, with many being equally excited for it. There are also some who do not know what  to think about her now or the idea of the show returning and are unsure about the topic. 

DeGeneres still has many loyal fans, but it is safe to say her reputation and the show itself has been affected by this controversy and backlash. 

It will be interesting to see where she and her show goes from here.

As a new season “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” kicks off, Degeneres said on air she is hopeful for a new chapter to begin, one of love, kindness, and respect. It remains to be seen if these values continue promote a more positive work environment on the show. 

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