Watch: Ellen DeGeneres Says Reports on Toxic Workplace Were 'Too Coordinated'

Thursday May 13, 2021

Ellen DeGeneres told the world that she is quitting her daily talk show next year because she is looking to do something different. It had nothing to do with the charges of a toxic workplace environment that her management style contributed to, she said.

"When you're a creative person, you constantly need to be challenged — and as great as this show is, and as fun as it is, it's just not a challenge anymore," DeGeneres told The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday after the news was released..

But on the "Today Show" on Thursday she threw some shade at the reporting that kept her in the news repeatedly last year. When asked by host Savannah Guthrie if she felt like she was being canceled, DeGeneres first said she still doesn't understand it, but felt "something was going on that that, because it was too orchestrated, it was too coordinated."

"And, you know, people get picked on but for four months straight for me, and then for me to read in the press about a toxic work environment, when, when all I've ever heard from every guest that comes on the show is what a happy atmosphere this is, and how, what a happy place it is."

But one such guest — trans social media influencer NikkieTutorials helped kick off the backlash against DeGeneres when she went public in April 2020 to complain about her cool manner. Nor did she address former employees who slammed her once the scandal broke.

Instead DeGeneres focused on how she addressed the news of her leaving to her staff.

"I'm glad that before it leaked, I got to tell my staff and my crew, from my own words - that they didn't hear it anyplace else. Because I haven't been sleeping," she said. "I've been trying to, you know, anticipate how to tell them and, you know, hope that everybody would take it okay. A lot of people were very emotional. I got emotional."

Asked if the reporting had an effect on her, she said: "I'd be lying if I said it didn't, And it makes me really sad that there's so much joy out there from negativity. It's a culture now where there are just mean people, and it's so foreign to me that people get joy out of that."

On "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" Thursday, she addressed her decision to her audience.

"The past 18 years have changed my life. You've changed my life," she said, in part. "I am forever grateful to all of you for watching, for laughing, for dancing ... sometimes crying. This show has been the greatest experience of my life and I owe it all to you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you."

Joining her on the show are guests P!NK and Oprah Winfrey. Speaking to the Hollywood Reporter, DeGeneres said how Winfrey's career was an inspiration to her in making the decision, though she never spoke to her about it. "But look at [Winfrey]. She stopped and she didn't have to do anything again, and she's done a tremendous amount since then. So, I don't look at this as the end at all. It's the start of a new chapter, and hopefully, my fans will go with me wherever I go."

Watch Ellen's announcement below.