Ellen DeGeneres, 62, has come under fire after former staff members claimed she encouraged a “toxic” environment and bullied staff on her hit US show. The TV star’s workplace, which is under internal investigation by the network, was also compared to the 2006 film ‘The Devil Wears Prada’. A number of celebrities have jumped to the defence of the long-running host, who in a letter to staff expressed her hope that the show was “place of happiness”. She claimed to be “disappointed to learn that this wasn’t the case” and apologised – as well as making a promise to continue to “learn and grow” after the shocking claims.
In one recently resurfaced episode of ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show‘, the star berated staff before her live studio audience in a playful but mocking manner.
During the segment, the star displayed pictures from her crew’s personal Facebook accounts and ridiculed them before her TV audience in a number of awkward exchanges.
She started with Claudia, the show’s audience producer, who she poked fun at for holding a pair of white and pink polkadot underwear in Hong Kong that cost 10 Cents – the equivalent of seven pence.
In a flurry of questions, Ellen mocked: “Do we not pay you enough? Why aren’t you buying Ellen underwear? What are you doing going to Chinatown? What are those underwear for?
“I can see the price right there! So no matter what it looks like you’ll buy it if it’s 10 Cents – is that what you’re about?”
Next she pounced on another staff member who was pictured after she had apparently fallen asleep in her car after the show won a TV award.
She yelled: “Nothing shows a celebration like ‘We won!’ and then you passed out in the car by yourself!”
Ellen then continued onto a producer named Matt who she ridiculed for being “so shy” and “sweaty” then went on to tell the show’s audience in August 2013 that “he’s usually drunk”.
She boasted about being able to do “an entire segment from Matt’s Facebook photos” before she brought up a shot of him holding two red bowling balls in front of his crotch.
The star brutally probed: “What were you doing there? You bowl with two balls? Are you sweating? A little shy, a little sweaty!”
Matt covered his face with his hands as she revealed another photograph of him with a pink sash being cuddled by a scantily clad man, who was only wearing speedos.
Ellen said: “It’s a picture of how you spent your birthday lets take a look at this. You want me to keep going?”
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With a fearful look in his eye he shook his head – in a clear attempt to ward off any further embarrassment on national TV – as the audience hysterically laughed.
She then turned to another worker who seemed to have laughed from the side of the stage and yelled: “Oh you’re next!”
The man appeared horrified by the comment but Ellen moved onto her next victim, one of the show’s female employees.
She said: “So Matt goes out and he parties a lot, right Matt? You do! And you took my dear sweet innocent writer Lauren with you. You got her involved in your shenanigans!”
Ellen brought-up a photograph of her posed beside a man dressed only in underwear – in the shot, as the staff member beamed at the camera with a broad smile.
When asked if she knew his name, Lauren told her she didn’t before the star yelled out a name and claimed to have “tracked him down” as she added: “Let’s bring him out!”
She later revealed it was simply a joke, but added: “Darn it! I wish we could have, we’ll have him hear another day.”
Ellen signed-off: “I want to thank my staff for posting those pictures, usually when I show photos of my audience they get iPads – but all of my staff you’re meeting with human resources.”