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8 Hurtful Stories About How Ellen DeGeneres Treats Other Celebs & Members Of Her Staff

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ellen degeneres

Talk-show host, Ellen DeGeneres has been on the air since 2003 with her show 'The Ellen DeGeneres Show,' and has become a beloved staple in many people's homes.

Often regarded for her comedic and friendly demeanor, DeGeneres is well-known for interviewing A-list celebrities and fans who went viral on social media platforms such as TikTok and Facebook.

Despite her longstanding career and hoards of loving fans, the 64-year-old personality is no stranger to having controversial and questionable moments throughout her time in the entertainment industry.

Her climb to fame, including winning numerous Emmys for her talk show, hasn't shielded her from making headlines on numerous occasions, which sometimes consist of incidents that have people wary of DeGeneres.

Here are 8 of Ellen DeGeneres' most questionable and controversial moments:

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1. She pressured Mariah Carey to reveal her pregnancy before she was ready.

During a November 2008 appearance on her show, Carey was tricked into revealing that she was expecting her first child with then-husband Nick Cannon.

While on the show, DeGeneres handed Carey a glass of champagne after the singer refused to comment on whether or not she was pregnant, according to Entertainment Weekly.

During an interview with Vulture in August 2020, according to Detroit News, Carey reflected on that moment, saying, "I was extremely uncomfortable with that moment is all I can say. And I really have had a hard time grappling with the aftermath." Carey ended up welcoming twins Moroccan and Monroe with Cannon in April 2011. "I wasn’t ready to tell anyone because I had had a miscarriage.” 

In the clip Carey is visibly uncomfortable, and tries to politely decline the wine. "I can't believe you did this to me Ellen. This is peer pressure," the singer said in the clip. She then pretended to take a sip, causing DeGeneres to exclaim, "You're pregnant!"

2. She's a good friend of former President George W. Bush, despite his history of speaking out against same-sex marriage.

During October 2019, DeGeneres was photographed attending a Green Bay Packers vs. Dallas Cowboys football game with former President George W. Bush, immediately sparking outrage, according to CNN.

Immediately after the photographed started going viral on social media, the talk-show host was the subject of verbal attacks and criticism, with many people pointing out the politician's public opposition of same-sex marriage and other social issues.

She defended her friendship with Bush on her talk show later that month, telling her viewers, "I’m friends with a lot of people who don’t share the same beliefs that I have.”

3. Beauty influencer NikkieTutorials claimed DeGeneres mistreated her while on her show.

NikkieTutorials, whose real name is Nikkie de Jager, had been a guest on 'The Ellen DeGeneres' show back in January 2020 to discuss her experience being a transgender woman after coming out earlier that same month.

However, her appearance on the show wasn't what it cracked up to be, sharing her experience during an interview on the Dutch talk show 'De Wereld Draait Door' in February 2020. 

"Let me say that there's a big difference between this show and Ellen DeGeneres, and I'm saying that in favor of this show," de Jager, who is Dutch, told the host Matthijs van Nieuwkerk, according to a translation by YouTuber Sebastian Williams, a native Dutch speaker. "It's nice that you say 'hi' before the show. She didn't."

When asked if DeGeneres was "cold and distant," de Jager promptly agreed. 

Another interview surfaced where de Jager told &C Magazine that the friendly, welcoming atmosphere that is portrayed to viewers isn't the reality in the studio. 

"Maybe I'm being naive, but I expected them to welcome me with confetti: Welcome to 'The Ellen DeGeneres Show'!" she said "But instead I got greeted by an angry intern, who was a bit overworked. I expected a Disney show, but I got a 'Teletubbies' after dark."

According to de Jager, she didn't receive the same treatment that many other celebrity guests to, not even able to have her own private toilet. 

"Every guest at Ellen had a private toilet, but I didn't," she said, referring to a bathroom. "I couldn't even use the closest toilet to me because it was reserved for the Jonas brothers."

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4. Ellen DeGeneres sparked outrage when she compared self-isolating in her mansion to "being in jail."

At the beginning of the pandemic, Ellen DeGeneres had been filming her show from the comfort of her house, but during her April 6 show, DeGeneres compared self-isolating in her California mansion to being in prison, according to The Wrap — something that people were quick to call her out for.

"One thing I've learned from being in quarantine is that people — this is like being in jail, is what this is," DeGeneres said, adding, "It's mostly because I've been wearing the same clothes for 10 days, and everyone in here is gay."

DeGeneres didn't seem to find anything wrong with the joke, smiling and laughing afterward before saying, "The jokes that I have."

However, many people did not share the same sentiment, and after the clip was shared on Twitter, many users felt she was being insensitive to actual prison inmates who were at increased risks of contracting the virus during the start of the pandemic.

Many people pointed out that rich celebrities, like DeGeneres, weren't as at risk to catch the virus compared to the high number of inmates in the prison system.

5. Former employees allege toxic work culture on Ellen DeGeneres' show.

According to BuzzFeed News, the outlet spoke to one current and 10 former employees on ;The Ellen DeGeneres Show,' all of whom chose to remain anonymous, in which they talked about the toxic work culture in the studio.

The employees said they were fired after taking medical leave or bereavement days to attend family funerals. One employee even shared that she walked off the job after receiving comments about her race.

In April 2020, many employees were furious over the lack communication over their pay during the coronavirus shutdown, according to Variety.

The outlet citied two anonymous sources, saying that the long-running talk show's core stage crew — which consists of more than 30 employees — had not received any communication about the status of their working hours or pay and that producers had not checked in about their mental and physical health.

Many of the former employees on the show blamed executive producers and other senior managers for the toxicity of their work environment, but one former employee said that, ultimately, it’s Ellen’s name on the show and “she really needs to take more responsibility."

DeGeneres addressed the allegations of a toxic work environment during the return of her show in September 2020 after returning from the summer break.

"I learned that things happened here that never should have happened. I take that very seriously," DeGeneres began. "I want to say I am so sorry to the people who were affected."

"I know that I'm in a position of privilege and power. And I realized that with that comes responsibility," she continued. "And I take responsibility for what happens at my show. This is 'The Ellen DeGeneres Show.'" 

6. A former bodyguard of DeGeneres shared his negative experience with the talk-show host.

Tom Majercak, who had been hired to protect DeGeneres, her mother, and her wife, Portia de Rossi, while they attended the 86th Academy Awards in 2014, an event that DeGeneres hosted, shared his negative experience while working.

According to an interview Majercak had with Fox News in May 2020, he said that his experience with DeGeneres was "kind of demeaning."

"I'm holding their hands and walking them through individuals and large groups of people. Ellen is the one person that I've been assigned to — and I've been assigned to quite a few celebrities — that has never taken the time to say hi to me," Majercak said. 

Majercak continued, saying that de Rossi was "very pleasant," throughout the evening, and "carried on a conversation," but things took a turn when de Rossi introduced him to DeGeneres.

"Ellen pretty much just gave me a side glance out of her eye and didn't even say 'hello,' or 'thank you for protecting my mother, my wife and me,'" Majercak said, adding, "It was very cold and it was very sly and it was actually kind of demeaning in the way that she treats people other than those who are in her circle." 

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7. A former producer said DeGeneres called Steve Jobs directly to complain about her iPhone.

According to the New York Post, a former producer, who remained anonymous, that while working for DeGeneres, she allegedly called Apple founder Steve Jobs after finding an issue with her iPhone.

The call came after DeGeneres had lost her glasses and was unable to read a text on her phone.

"She stopped everything and made a call. Next thing we know, we literally hear Steve Jobs pick up and say, 'Hi, Ellen' … Ellen told him the iPhone should have a bigger font," the producer said. 

"That's her," the former producer continued. "It's not that she's some demon. She just lives in an incredibly privileged bubble and is out of touch with the real world." 

8. An Australian radio host claimed he was instructed not to look at or talk to DeGeneres while working with her.

According to Neil Breen during a segment on his radio show '4BC Breakfast,' he shared that he had worked as an executive producer on the Australian 'Today' show at the time, and had been involved in an interview set to air between Australian TV presenter Richard Wilkins and DeGeneres.

According to Breen, DeGeneres' involvement with the episode "got watered-down" from co-hosting to doing a sit-down interview in Melbourne, where Breen and his crew had to fly, "at our own expense," to tape the segment. 

When Breen and his team arrived, they were met with a set of rather specific rules to follow when working with DeGeneres.

"Because it's 'The Ellen Show,' they controlled everything," Breen explained. "They controlled the interview seats, the lights, how it would work, everything."

DeGeneres's team allegedly said, ""Neil, no one's to talk to Ellen. You don't talk to her, you don't approach her, you don't look at her. She'll come in, she'll sit down, she'll talk to Richard, then Ellen will leave," a request he found "bizarre."

"Neil, no one's to talk to Ellen. You don't talk to her, you don't approach her, you don't look at her. She'll come in, she'll sit down, she'll talk to Richard, then Ellen will leave." 

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Nia Tipton is a writer living in Brooklyn. She covers pop culture, social justice issues, and trending topics. Follow her on Instagram.