On April 28, Ellen DeGeneres filmed the last-ever episode of her long-running The Ellen DeGeneres Show, after announcing it was ending after the controversy.
The Ellen DeGeneres Show, which started in September 2003, will air its final episode on May 26th. DeGeneres announced the show’s ending after numerous scandals and accusations of a toxic workplace environment.
DeGeneres filmed the last episode of her 19-season show on April 28th and thanked her fans in an emotional Instagram post – sitting in the chair.
“Today we taped the last episode of The Ellen Show which airs on May 26th. When we started this show in 2003, the iPhone didn’t exist,” she began.
“Social Media didn’t exist. Gay marriage wasn’t legal. We watched the world change, sometimes for better, sometimes not,” she added.
DeGeneres said that she wanted her show to be a “place where we could all come together and laugh for an hour”, and said it had been an honour to entertain millions of people around the world for almost two decades.
“But whatever was happening, my goal was always for the show to be a place where we could all come together and laugh for an hour. Being invited into your lives has been the greatest privilege of my life and has brought me incredible joy.
“Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you,” she concluded her emotional post.
The Ellen DeGeneres Show was hit with controversy in 2020, after allegations regarding a toxic work environment on the set, and she herself was accused of being rude on the set.
Also, a report from BuzzFeed included current and former employees who complained about alleged bullying behind the scenes, prompting Warner Bros to investigate the show internally.
Findings showed “some flaws in the show’s daily management”. A black woman who used to work on the set told a BuzzFeed that when she was hired, a senior-level producer told her and another black employee, “Oh wow, you both have box braids; I hope we don’t get you confused.”
While a writer on the show told her “I’m sorry, I only know the names of white people who work here,” and other coworkers awkwardly laughed at that instead of defending her.
She also told BuzzFeed, “Whenever I brought up an issue to my white male boss, he would bring up some random story about some random Black friend that he had and how they managed to get over stuff. He would use his Black friend as some way to say, ‘I understand your struggle.’ But it was all performative bullshit.”
There were also a few claims of sexual misconduct on the set and after an internal investigation, three producers were fired. In September 2020, DeGeneres herself apologised for ‘the things that never should have happened.’
During the opening of the show’s 18th season, DeGeneres told the viewers, “I know that I am in a position of privilege and power, and I realise that with that comes responsibility for what happens at my show.”
“The truth is I am that person that you see on TV. I am also a lot of other things. I get sad. I get mad. I get anxious. I get frustrated. I get impatient. And I am working on all of that,” she confessed.
During the last episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, DeGeneres celebrated the 25th anniversary of coming out as a gay on her former self-titled sitcom. During her opening monologue, she said, “when I came out, people warned me that it was going to ruin my career, and they were right for a while. Actually, for exactly three years, I lost my career. But look at me now.”
She said to The Hollywood Reporter that she is stepping away from the show on her own terms and it has nothing to do with the toxic workplace scandal. However, Hedda Muskat, a former producer, has argued that the “viewers fired her” after the controversy.
During an appearance on Australian Channel 7’s Sunrise morning Programme, Hedda Muskat said, “Her ratings have been in the toilet for a long, long time now. Her show has not been fun, it has not been interesting, and she’s not really, by the way, stepping down. The views fired her.
“The viewers feel duped in a way that she’s not this nice person, and the viewers are not going to put up with the backstage racism that goes on, and backstage bullying that goes on. So I think the viewers have woken up finally.”
However, DeGeneres said in a statement, “If I was quitting the show because of the scandal, I wouldn’t have come back this season. So, it’s not why I’m stopping.”
In May 2021, DeGeneres announced that her show will end with its 19th season. “That’s been the plan all along. And everybody kept saying, even when I signed, ‘ You know, that’s going to be 19, don’t you want to just go to 20? It’s a good number.’ So is 19,” she said in a statement.
She also said, “You may wonder why I’ve decided to end after 19 seasons. The truth is, I always trust my instincts,” she continued. “My instinct told me it’s time. As a comedian, I’ve always understood the importance of timing. In all seriousness, I truly have felt like next season was the right time to end this amazing chapter.”
She also told The Hollywood Reporter, “When you are a creative person, you constantly need to be challenged… and as great as this show is, and as fun as it is, it’s not just a challenge anymore.”
The final episode of the The Ellen DeGeneres Show will air on May 26th and it will feature a line-up including Kim Kardashian, Michelle Obama, Channing Tatum, Zac Efron, Serena Williams, Jennifer Garner, Adam Levine, Gwen Stefani, David Letterman, and DeGeneres’ wife Portia de Rossi.