Ellen DeGeneres is ‘going to talk about it’ in final standup special on Netflix

We all know what “it” is.

Ellen DeGeneres will soon address the elephant in the room.

In a press release announcing her final standup special, the comedian hinted that she could discuss the toxic workplace allegations that former employees of The Ellen DeGeneres Show publicized in 2020. “To answer the questions everyone is asking me — Yes, I’m going to talk about it,” DeGeneres said in the press release. “Yes this is my last special. Yes, Portia really is that pretty in real life.”

Netflix announced that DeGeneres’ new standup special will launch later this year, marking her second with the platform after 2018’s Relatable. The comedian will also embark on a stand-up tour beginning with a show in San Diego on June 19.

Rumors about the work environment at The Ellen DeGeneres Show began to gain traction in March 2020, as users on social media alleged several troubling anecdotes characterizing DeGeneres as a temperamental and harsh boss. A few months later, BuzzFeed News published two reports in which numerous former and current employees of the show detailed the racist microaggressions and intimidation that they allegedly faced while working on the daytime talk show.

<p>Kevin Winter/Getty </p> Ellen DeGeneres

Kevin Winter/Getty

Ellen DeGeneres

In response to that wave of allegations, DeGeneres’ executive producers Ed Glavin, Mary Connelly, and Andy Lassner released a statement saying, “We are truly heartbroken and sorry to learn that even one person in our production family has had a negative experience. It’s not who we are and not who we strive to be, and not the mission Ellen has set for us. For the record, the day-to-day responsibility of the Ellen show is completely on us. We take all of this very seriously and we realize, as many in the world are learning, that we need to do better, are committed to do better, and we will do better."

Related: Greyson Chance says Ellen DeGeneres 'abandoned' him: 'I've never met someone more manipulative'

Additionally, WarnerMedia reportedly launched an internal investigation into the series after the BuzzFeed allegations, and DeGeneres vaguely discussed the atmosphere on her show in a letter to staffers. "As we've grown exponentially, I've not been able to stay on top of everything and relied on others to do their jobs as they knew I'd want them done," DeGeneres wrote. "Clearly some didn't. That will now change and I'm committed to ensuring this does not happen again."

After a handful of the show’s producers were accused of sexual misconduct and harassment, the show made staffing changes in leadership positions, and DeGeneres apologized to her employees again on a Zoom call. “Does that mean I’m perfect? No. I’m not. I’m a multi-layered person, and I try to be the best person I can be and I try to learn from my mistakes," she said.

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The show then launched its 19th season in September 2020, and DeGeneres addressed the allegations in her first episode since the controversy began. “I learned that things happened here that never should have happened,” she said. “I am so sorry to the people who were affected. I know that I'm in a position of privilege and power. I realized that with that comes responsibility and I take responsibility for what happens at my show.”

“The truth is I am that person that you see on TV. I am also a lot of other things,” she continued. “Sometimes I get sad. I get mad. I get anxious. I get frustrated. I get impatient. And I am working on all of that. I am a work in progress and I'm especially working on the impatience thing because, and it's not going well because it's not happening fast enough.”

Laura Cavanaugh/FilmMagic Ellen DeGeneres
Laura Cavanaugh/FilmMagic Ellen DeGeneres

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The next year, DeGeneres announced that her show would end after 19 seasons, though she did not cite the controversy as a reason for its conclusion (though the show did reportedly lose over a million viewers following the allegations).

DeGeneres said she “really didn’t understand” the allegations in an interview with Today in May 2021. "It was too orchestrated, it was too coordinated,” she said. “People get picked on, but for four months straight and then for me to read in the press about a toxic work environment when all I've ever heard from every guest that comes on the show is what a happy atmosphere this is and what a happy place this is.”

Related: How Ellen DeGeneres said goodbye in her final show

Last month, DeGeneres discussed the aftermath of the controversy at a small stand-up gig at the Largo at the Coronet in Los Angeles. "The hate went on for a long time, and I would try to avoid looking at the news," she said. "The 'be kind' girl wasn't kind. That was the headline." She also said she had a “hard time” following the allegations, and that "It's hard to dance when you're crying.” She also characterized the show’s end as herself “kicked out of show business” for being “mean.”

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