Ellen Degeneres began the new season of her talk show host with a monologue. In the speech, Ellen described herself as ‘a work in progress’ and expressed regret if she’s ‘ever let someone down’ or ‘hurt their feelings’.
The Ellen DeGeneres Show is back with its 18th season this week. Ahead of its first episode airing on Monday, Ellen released a monologue addressing the toxic work environment allegations uncovered by a Buzzfeed investigation back in July. In the video, Ellen expressed joy to be back in the studio to a virtual crowd and openly discussed the controversy surrounding the allegations.
People reacted to the monologue on social media, either to show support for the presenter or to express scepticism and disbelief at her words.
The Buzzfeed reports brought forward multiple accounts of bullying, racism, and sexual misconduct allegedly suffered by former and current employees of The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Three main producers were fired in the weeks following the surfacing of the accusations. Some victims were allegedly treated with disrespect by Ellen herself.
The presenter apologised earlier this week to ‘the people who were affected’ and stressed that she is striving to ‘always be the best person I can be’. She also added that ‘the necessary changes’ have been made in order to start ‘a new chapter’ for the show and its staff.
This was the first time Ellen DeGeneres has publicly addressed the allegations, since they were initially revealed on July 16th. On more than one occasion, she apologised to her staff in private, after being advised not to give a public response while the investigation was ongoing.
In the monologue, Ellen explained she sometimes has moments of frustration, acknowledged the responsibilities that come with being ‘in a position of privilege and power’, and revealed that it is difficult to be known as the ‘be kind’ lady.
Although she admitted to situations that ‘should not have happened’ at her show, Ellen denied being a behind-the-scenes villain – saying she is not that good of an actress ‘to come out here every day for 17 years and fool you’.
Closing the speech, she expressed gratitude for the 270 people who are currently working for The Ellen DeGeneres Show and said she wanted them all to be happy and proud to be there.
Given the viewers’ mixed reactions on Monday, The Ellen Show is making a seemingly rocky comeback. The eponymous presenter said ‘this is me, I am the person you see on TV’ – we will have to see what season 18 will bring to make it the best season yet, as Ellen has promised.
Words by Eliza Lita