Ellen DeGeneres Reportedly ‘Tormented’ Her Household Workers by Setting Traps and Daily Performance Complaints

Up until recently, when most people heard Ellen DeGeneres‘ name, they would’ve instantly pictured the dancing, goofy talk-show host who changed the landscape for people who identify as LGBTQ. However, a slew of recent complaints from former employees and guests of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, as well as many celebrities – some stemming back several years – have tainted the comedian’s reputation, possibly forever.

The general public was initially shocked by the accusations, but as more and more continue to surface, including several from her household staff, it’s becoming more believable. According to The Independent, DeGeneres ends every show by telling the audience to “Be kind to one another,” but does she need to take her own advice? 

Ellen DeGeneres in front of a white wall not smiling
Ellen DeGeneres | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Becoming Ellen

Although today DeGeneres is one of the most recognized comedians in the world, she spent the early part of her career doing stand-up comedy in cafés, trying to get noticed. She eventually did and landed her own sitcom, Ellen, which aired on ABC from 1994-1998. DeGeneres famously came out as being gay on a 1997 episode of Ellen, which was groundbreaking and risky at the time. Remember, this was well over a decade before shows like The L Word, Shameless, Orange is the New Black, and other shows featuring same-sex relationships were the norm. 

DeGeneres is largely credited with paving the way for LGBTQ acceptance, and her coming out skyrocketed her career into superstardom. She landed a gig hosting The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2003, which is still airing today and has starred in a number of movies including EdTV, Mr. Wrong, and Finding Nemo, as the voice of Dory. In 2008, DeGeneres married longtime girlfriend Portia DeRossi. The couple is still married, sharing a love of dogs and a passion for buying and selling real estate. 

An accusation avalanche

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It’s difficult to reconcile the always-smiling, dog-loving DeGeneres fans see on TV with the mounting accusations about her, but they continue to come out. In March 2020, comedian Kevin T. Porter started a now-infamous Twitter thread stating that DeGeneres is “notoriously one of the meanest people alive” and asking for stories supporting that in exchange for charitable donations. Thousands of people responded or re-tweeted Porter, including many celebrities.

The accusations initially centered around DeGeneres being generally mean. Brad Garrett of Everybody Loves Raymond tweeted it’s “common knowledge” that DeGeneres treated people “horribly,” and actress Lea Thompson soon chimed in that it’s a “true story.” Several of DeGeneres’ celebrity friends have publicly stood up for her, including Katy Perry, Jerry O’Connell, and Kevin Hart, but the accusations have not slowed down and in fact, they’ve gotten increasingly worse.

Amid serious former crew members and guests’ accusations of a toxic work environment that included racism and sexual harassment, misconduct, and assault, WarnerMedia announced at the end of July that it was launching an internal investigation. Three of the show’s top executives have since been fired and DeGeneres issued an apology — although we use that term loosely — largely placing the blame on others. As it turns out, however, those accusations stretch far beyond the set of her show. 

“The worst person I’ve ever met”

Page Six reports that a former in-house employee of DeGeneres and DeRossi told the Daily Mail “DeGeneres’ alleged behavior behind the scenes of her show was nothing compared to her at-home persona” and that “Ellen was the worst person that I’ve ever met in my life.” The ex-employee added, “everyone in Hollywood knows what’s going on there,” which corroborates what many celebrities have said.

The Page Six article goes on to say that DeGeneres often gave her staff a list of trivial “performance complaints,” citing things like the salt shaker being left in the wrong spot or food being served in the wrong bowl. Perhaps most disturbing of all, though, is the claim that DeGeneres “laid traps” all over the house, leaving matches scattered randomly to ensure the staff was cleaning every nook and cranny. 

DeGeneres’ rep told Page Six the claims “are absolutely not true” and said they couldn’t verify that the person who made them ever even worked for her. Still, that’s just one claim in an ocean of many, many others. According to Us Weekly, DeGeneres will address the rumors and controversy on-air when she returns to her show for season 18 on September 21st. We’ll be waiting.