It’s been a weird year for Ellen DeGeneres, so far. The once-unimpeachable force of daytime talk and the ‘queen of nice’ has seen her pristine public image take a few hits. It turns out that people aren’t wild when you pal around with a war criminal then claim that doing so is an act of true kindness. Huh, the more you know. This, however, goes well above and beyond her public friendship with George W. Bush. What was once a much-discussed industry secret is now one of 2020’s biggest celeb gossip stories: Just how mean is Ellen, really, and why is it that so many people in Hollywood openly can’t stand her?
Comedian Kevin T. Porter helped bring many of those stories to light with a Twitter thread that quickly went viral. He invited people to share their experiences with the woman he described as ‘notoriously one of the meanest people alive,’ all in the name of charity, of course.
Right now we all need a little kindness. You know, like Ellen Degeneres always talks about! 😊❤️— Kevin T. Porter (@KevinTPorter) March 20, 2020
She’s also notoriously one of the meanest people alive
Respond to this with the most insane stories you’ve heard about Ellen being mean & I’ll match every one w/ $2 to @LAFoodBank
I wrote last month about how Ellen’s weaponized and commodified image of uber-niceness was falling apart at the seams thanks to endless displays of privilege, cluelessness, and an impossible-to-ignore aura of disdain that now emanates from her beloved talk-show. Even some former guests are speaking out, including beauty YouTuber Nikkie de Jager (a.k.a. NikkieTutorials), who said that Ellen was ‘cold and distant’ when she appeared on the series.
There just seems to be something in the air right now that’s left people with very little tolerance for bullsh*t. We don’t have much time for multi-millionaires complaining that dealing with lockdown from their mansions is just like prison while they treat their staff like dirt. ‘Nice’ is not the same thing as ‘good.’
Now, these issues are apparently making Ellen feel sad. According to a source in Us Weekly, ‘Ellen is at the end of her rope.’ The woman who made ‘be kind’ not only her motto but her literal brand — order her subscription boxes now! — thought that ‘this was all just sour grapes from a few haters. But it’s not a passing thing — the hits just keep coming.’
In fairness, the hits have been coming for years. It’s just that people are listening now. Anyone in the comedy world knows about how Ellen, while crossing picket lines during the Writer’s Strike, reportedly fired her former head writer Karen Kilgariff (now of the wildly popular podcast My Favorite Murder) because she wouldn’t do the same. Last year, writer Dan Sheehan tweeted, ‘When you move to LA the first two things that happen are you get a parking ticket and someone who once worked for Ellen will tell you a story about how she’s a monster.’
A second source in the Us Weekly piece says that Ellen’s best response is just being happy Ellen on the show every day’ and that ‘it’ll take a lot more than a bodyguard and a blogger to change how people feel about her.’ Them’s fighting words, source. They’re not wrong, though.
Ellen is a level of famous and beloved that few people, alive or dead, have ever reached. She is credited not only as a wildly popular figure but a trusted and influential one. For millions of people, her show is their idea of heaven and she is their undisputed hero. DeGeneres’s branding is so laser-focused in its agenda that it doesn’t matter how disinterested or outright nasty she is on her show: The Be Nice message wins out every single time. Do as she says, not as she does. For us Always Online folks, this gossip is fun and nothing new, but I doubt it’ll impact that core demographic that remains so zealously pro-Ellen.
Still, it is fascinating that we even have these ‘sources’ talking to Us Weekly in the first place. Remember, aside from People, it’s Us Weekly that the major names go to with their news. If a source says it in one of those two publications then the chances are that it’s true and that someone’s PR team wants you to know that. You won’t see Us Weekly publishing any exposes on Ellen’s meanness. That would hurt their soft-ball approach and turn off both their audience and the celebrities with whom they want to maintain a mutually beneficial relationship.
So, why have her team go to a weekly glossy gossip magazine over sticking to her own social media or even getting the message out on her show? I’m sure there would be a gaggle of fans ready to gobble up her every word. I think the pandemic is the reason she’s taking this approach. That bullsh*t George W. Bush explanation only worked because she had a cheering audience to give it to. Can you imagine Ellen, sitting in her obscenely expensive home, all alone except for Portia and a non-union crew, getting sad about how she’s actually a nice person and those meanies won’t leave her alone? Any YouTuber worth their salt would know that’s an abysmal strategy. No, stick to the old ways and pretend you’re totally above it all. That’ll work. For now.
Header Image Source: YouTube // Ellen