Today in utterly non-shocking news, a former housekeeper of Ellen DeGeneres spilled the beans in an interview on what it’s like to work with the woman they described as ‘the worst person that I’ve ever met in my life.’ While most of the current drama around DeGeneres has focused on the workplace violations and toxic environment of her talk show, which is undergoing an internal investigation by Warner Bros. and saw several major executives lose their jobs, there’s still a lot of chatter around Ellen herself. Her reputation has always been one of the worst in 21st century Hollywood to the point where it’s taken on a near-mythic stance. Everyone in Los Angeles has an Ellen story, it seems, or at least knows someone with one. Kevin T. Porter turned that knowledge into a popular Twitter fundraising thread.
Now, a former housekeeper of DeGeneres has decided to get in on the action. And, of course, they ran to the Daily Mail to get the job done. Yes, it’s a British tabloid — and a f**king awful one at that — but their website is eerily successful internationally and their U.S. work thrives on stuff like this.
The unnamed former staff member claims that they had been warned not to take the position because ‘she had a very high turnover and that I should stay under the radar as much as possible, avoid as much direct contact with Ellen as possible. Working there was described as being more like a boot camp.’ The source says that workers were given itemized lists of all the things they’d done wrong the previous day, with ‘violations’ including ‘the finest, finest details here. A salt shaker out of place or a light switch left on. She wanted the coffee maker deep cleaned every day after complaining that there was too much or too little froth on her latte.’
The housekeeper also claims that DeGeneres would essentially try to catch them out with little traps:
‘She would actually leave matchsticks around the house, behind cupboard doors, cushions or books to see if the staff was cleaning and moving things. One day the staff found around eight of them, all in weird places. The rest of the day became a race to find them all before she got home and fired someone.’
DeGeneres is also accused of being particularly cruel to staff, yelling at them until they cried. This nastiness allegedly extended to outside staff, including security:
‘When someone came to the house, for example, to repair an appliance, she wouldn’t hold back. It could be something as simple as the compressor on the refrigerator making too much noise. One of the top security firms in Hollywood terminated their contract with her. Some of the criticisms I heard were that she didn’t like the way they walked. I’m not even kidding, she literally didn’t like the way they walked. Also how they opened and closed doors […] I have a friend who was on The Ellen DeGeneres show one day who told me a story about how Ellen pointed out a production assistant and said “get rid of her, I don’t like the way she looks at me.” I heard that story from two separate sources. It didn’t surprise me in the slightest.’
The most damning quote is the simplest one, as the source said, ‘Ellen was the worst person that I’ve ever met in my life. She takes pleasure in firing people.’
Pretty damning stuff, right?
It all sounds very dramatic. In their own write-up of the story, Queerty even said that it all sounded kind of ridiculous but they weren’t sure what to believe anymore. We can’t say that we blame them. 2020 is that kind of year, after all, but Ellen is also a person with that kind of reputation. None of this started this year, remember. Gossip about how DeGeneres hates people, including her own staff, looking her in the eye is the bread and butter of Hollywood lore. With a story like this, the details matter less than whether or not it’s believable to the wider narrative, and this totally fits that. Is that fair? Not in the slightest, but admit it, you read those details and immediately thought, ‘Yup, seems legit.’
I can’t say I place a lot of trust in the Daily Mail here. Or any trust at all. They suck. I get why this source went to them, though. They probably paid well and they were more likely to welcome a story like this than, say, Us Weekly or other American tabloids that tend to play it safe with major celebrities. It does, however, make you say the word ‘allegedly’ in this context with a little more force, just in case.
Ellen will return to the small screen on September 21st for her 18th season, and ‘yes, we’re gonna talk about it’, she promises. This is when things are going to get very interesting, at least for me. This is where, I believe, she’ll roll out the full-force five finger death punch PR pushback. Nothing says penitence or humility quite like acting out your strategy in front of an adoring and screaming audience. I still have my money on her going full Final Season of Oprah with this. Remember: It’s really effing hard to cancel the rich.
Header Image Source: Getty Images.