In the controversial message on Twitter, from June 5, 2009, Degeneres wrote: “I made one of my employees cry like a baby on today’s show. Honestly, it felt good.”
As of Wednesday midday, the post had 19,200 likes, 17,500 retweets and more than 2,500 comments – many of which condemned the star and concluded it was evidence of workplace abuse.
One person vented that online users had “caught you in broad daylight” and another shared a picture of a sign that read: “Our expectations for you were low but holy f***.”
However, what DeGeneres’s tweet actually referred to was tears of joy – from colleague Jeannie Klisiewicz after she was awarded a luxury Caribbean cruise by the star.
During the 2009 episode of ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’, the presenter revealed that the employee was hired after she entered every competition for six years without winning.
Klisiewicz said: “I was a really big fan of the show and a fan of you, and wrote in like, you know, a few million or trillion times and was hoping to win something or have something happen.
“It went on for six seasons and you know nothing had finally happened – the next thing I knew, you were calling me up on the phone.
“I was a little moved, I was a little excited to say the least!”
DeGeneres continued to explain that the call was to inform her that she “still hadn’t won anything at all”, which sparked hysterical laughter from the audience.
But she added: “We loved her spirit and then I talked to her on the phone and I liked her so much… that we just hired her on the spot.”
She then played an emotional montage of Klisiewicz’s experiences since initially being hired as a receptionist.
Instead of solely answering the phones – as expected from the role – she rubbed shoulders with celebrities including Taylor Swift and Cameron Diaz, celebrated with competition winners and created a number of amusing TV moments.
The clips brought Klisiewicz to tears, as she wailed: “Oh my god, I’m such a cry baby, I’m so sorry!”
Ellen Degeneres: How US star blasted ‘dishonest’ verdict before probe [ANALYSIS]
Ellen DeGeneres’ blunt snub to James Corden exposed amid ‘TV takeover’ [INSIGHT]
Ellen DeGeneres’ response to firing fears from James Corden [INTERVIEW]
DeGeneres told viewers that she has been “so amazing” and that the star regularly reminded her “what a great job” she had done on every piece she worked on.
She continued: “You love helping people out there but with this economy, I have to tell you we have to let you go… just kidding.”
The star tapped her on the leg in reassurance and went onto: “I think you’re so fantastic, I mean really we had no idea you’d be so great.
“We just thought we would find something for you to do around here but your personality – you are just so adorable and so loveable.”
Klisiewicz interjected: “She is just as great as everything thinks that she is, that’s what I want to say.”
DeGeneres thanked her before she added: “Well you’ll have plenty of opportunities to tell that to a whole lot of people…”
The star revealed that she would be going on “an incredible seven-night Caribbean cruise for two” worth £2,250 ($3,000) – where she would savour “celebrity treatment, world class cuisine and extraordinary service”.
Klisiewicz screamed as she leapt into the air utterly overwhelmed with emotion and tears streamed down her face – in a final touching moment, she uttered “Oh my God” in disbelief.