Ellen DeGeneres: How the talk show host’s nice reputation turned toxic

A play-by-play of what’s happened so far

Ellen DeGeneres’s reputation as the perpetually sunny, rug-cutting host of daytime TV hit The Ellen DeGeneres Show has been shifting for a few years, sparked by her own words and actions, public encounters with others in the entertainment industry — including some familiar names — and, of course, social media.

Her employees’ claims last month that her set is a “toxic work environment,” with workers subjected to racism, sexual harassment and intimidation, as well as a subsequent internal investigation by Warner Bros. are only the latest developments.

For the record, DeGeneres has apologized and said her team is taking steps to correct the issue.

Here’s the play-by-play of what’s happened so far:

Nov. 22, 2016: Kathy Griffin accuses DeGeneres of having ‘a mean streak’

Comedian Kathy Griffin, who appeared as a guest star on DeGeneres’s groundbreaking sitcom Ellen in 1996 and had reportedly feuded with her in the past, wrote in her memoir about a “beloved daytime talk show host” who has “a mean streak that all of Hollywood knows about.” She strongly hinted that it was DeGeneres when she described the woman as having short blonde hair. Then, while promoting the book, Kathy Griffin’s Celebrity Run-Ins: My A-Z Index, Griffin straight-up confirmed the not-so-nice woman was DeGeneres. She further revealed to the Hollywood Reporter a month later that DeGeneres had called her out on her words. It made Griffin break down in tears.

“The only angry call I got was from Ellen DeGeneres, which is, by the way, not fun to get when you’re like, a female comic who loves her and her accomplishments,” Griffin said. “She was extremely upset, and I think she had a thought that she was going to, like, put me in my place, or whatever, but as you know I’m not shut-uppable”.

Dec. 12, 2018: DeGeneres pushes back against her nice image

In a New York Times profile, DeGeneres herself talked about the frustrations of being considered so nice. “There’s been times someone wants a picture, and while I’m doing a selfie, they’re like: ‘You’re not dancing!,’” she said. “Of course I’m not dancing. I’m walking down the street.”

She revealed to the newspaper that she’s considered leaving her show.

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Jan. 7, 2019: The TV host catches heat for sitting down with Kevin Hart

The host invited Hart on her show a month after he stepped down from hosting the Oscars because homophobic comments he had made in the past resurfaced. DeGeneres, who is gay and whose sitcom was the first to feature a gay leading character, surprisingly asked the film academy to rehire Hart — a move that many in the LGBTQ community and their supporters did not appreciate.

Oct. 6, 2019: DeGeneres socializes with President George W. Bush

During a football game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Green Bay Packers, DeGeneres was photographed hanging out with President George W. Bush, whose administration was hostile to LGBTQ people and their rights. She explained on the episode of her show that followed that the two are actually friends.

“Here’s the thing: I’m friends with George Bush,” she said on air. “In fact, I’m friends with a lot of people who don’t share the same beliefs that I have. We’re all different, and I think that we’ve forgotten that that’s OK that we’re all different.”

By the next day, writer and comedian Dan Sheehan tweeted that bad Ellen stories are just a part of living in Los Angeles, and it got a lot of attention.

Read more: yahoo