A complete guide to the celebrities defending Ellen DeGeneres

Joanna Taylor
Wednesday 05 August 2020 12:15
Showbiz
( Christopher Polk / Alberto E. Rodriguez / Jon Kopaloff / Getty Images )

Battle lines are being drawn over The Ellen DeGeneres Show scandal, with some of those coming out in favour of the talk show and its host embroiling themselves in the controversy.

A quick recap: in mid-July, Buzzfeed published allegations of "racism, fear and intimidation" committed by senior producers on the show towards other staff members.

They followed this up with a second article which included allegations of "rampant" sexual harassment.

As a result, production company WarnerMedia removed some staff from the show, while DeGeneres sent an email to others in which she wrote "I'm committed to ensuring this does not happen again".

The allegations detailed in Buzzfeed aren't aimed at DeGeneres herself, although one interviewee reportedly said:

If [Ellen] wants to have her own show and have her name on the show title, she needs to be more involved to see what's going on.

Rumours that DeGeneres has a "mean streak" and was aware of a "toxic workplace culture" on her show have circulated for years.

She addressed this in a New York Times profile in 2018.

That bugs me if someone is saying that because it’s an outright lie. The first day I said: ‘The one thing I want is everyone here to be happy and proud of where they work, and if not, don’t work here.’ No one is going to raise their voice or not be grateful. That’s the rule to this day.

However, several former celebrity guests and other associates of DeGeneres have spoken out against her, including Back to the Future actress Lea Thompson, Everyone Loves Raymond actor Brad Garrett, Gilmore Guys podcast host Kevin T. Porter and Nikkie de Jager, the YouTuber better known as NikkieTutorials.

Tom Majercak, a bodyguard who protected DeGeneres at the 2014 Oscars ceremony, has also accused her of being "cold, sly and demeaning".

But some people have leapt to DeGeneres's defence.

And it hasn't always gone well for them.

Here's everyone who has publicly defended DeGeneres and her show so far...

1. Katy Perry

Pop star Katy Perry took to Twitter to defend DeGeneres, writing "I have only ever had positive takeaways from my time with Ellen".

She also alluded to DeGeneres's "continual fight for equality": DeGeneres was awarded the presidential medal of freedom, the highest civilian honour in the United States, by president Obama in 2016, largely for her LGBTQ+ activism.

But many of Perry's followers hit back at her, pointing out that the allegations she was attempting to defend DeGeneres and her show from were made by staff, not multi-millionaire guests.

Perry's representatives are yet to respond to a request for comment on the backlash her statements received.

2. Kevin Hart

American comedian Kevin Hart has also defended DeGeneres, calling her "one of the dopest people on the f**king planet".

She has treated my family and my team with love and respect from day one. 

The internet has become a crazy world of negativity... we are falling in love with people's downfall. It's honestly sad. 

American racing driver Marco Andretti commented "You nailed it bro", while rapper DC Young Fly (John Whitfield) commented "Rite" and an emoji signalling agreement.

But Hart also attracted many of the same criticisms as Perry, with one Instagram user writing:

So all those people who worked for her or on set are lying about the mistreatment ???? Could it be because you are a celebrity YOU and your family was treated well?!!!

DeGeneres came to Hart's defence in January 2019 when he was dropped from hosting the Oscars ceremony when homophobic tweets posted between 2009 and 2011 resurfaced.

DeGeneres similarly encountered a backlash for defending Hart.

3. Portia de Rossi

Arrested Development actor and former model Portia de Rossi, who also just so happens to be DeGeneres's wife, tried to blame some of the controversy on "bots".

Stand By Me actor Jerry O'Connell commented: "Love Ellen and Portia. Always have. Always will." He repeated this caption in a post of his own.

Singer Brandi Carlile added:

Ellen has made my life so much easier for me and other LGBTQ people. I'll never stop being grateful for that, but more importantly she's NEVER stopped making life better and easier for all kinds of people. This attack is unprecedented.

De Rossi didn't say much else in her 'I stand by Ellen' Instagram post, but her hashtag #stopbotattacks spoke volumes.

Her post attracted ridicule.

It should really go without saying, but not everyone criticising DeGeneres is a bot.

4. Ashton Kutcher

That '70s Show actor Ashton Kutcher said that DeGeneres "treated me and my team with respect and kindness" and "never pandered to celebrity".

When he inevitably received backlash, Kutcher replied to some of the comments.

Kutcher acknowledged the reasons his post sparked anger but pointed out that he'd witnessed DeGeneres's kindness towards his non-celebrity team members.

5. Scooter Braun

The record executive who has managed Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber (and publicly gotten into a spat with Taylor Swift) described DeGeneres as a "kind, thoughtful, courageous human being".

Similarly to Hart, Braun accused people of tearing DeGeneres down because they "love to take shots at people".

6. Diane Keaton

The Godfather and Annie Hall actor Diane Keaton wrote that audiences of The Ellen Degeneres Show "exudes happiness and gratitude".

Once again, the majority of the top comments on her post criticised Keaton's standpoint.

7. Samantha Ronson

DJ Samantha Ronson, sister of musician Mark Ronson, wrote that she has had a good working relationship with DeGeneres.

When people called her out, she pointed out that she wasn't a celebrity guest on Ellen.

She also appeared to imply it was unusual for someone like DeGeneres to be kind to any employee, regardless of stature.

8. Ignacio Figueras

In his Instagram post, Ignacio 'Nacho' Figueras, sometimes called 'the David Beckham of polo', challenged more celebrities to speak up about their experiences with DeGeneres.

Reflecting on his own experiences on the show, he wrote:

It is a very well run machine, everyone was super nice, not just to me but to each other and anyone involved.

He then went on to tag Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Lopez, Michelle Obama, Pink, Sean Hayes, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Oprah Winfrey and Justin Timberlake in the post, adding "We love Ellen right?".

9. Jay Leno

Fellow talk show host and comedian Jay Leno dismissed the allegations against DeGeneres as "hearsay".

10. Tyrese Gibson

Singer, rapper and Fast and Furious actor Tyrese Gibson wrote in a lengthy Instagram post:

I am not one of the lucky ones who have hung with you 40 to 50 times over the years... But I know a kind hearted and giving person when I see one and you fit the bill.

11. Alec Baldwin

The official Twitter account for Hilaria and Alec Baldwin's foundation tweeted in favour of Ellen.

Baldwin is a prolific comedian and actor, best known for his roles in Beetlejuice and 30 Rock.

12. Vance DeGeneres

DeGeneres described his sister as a "bright light in a dark world" and appeared to directly contradict the allegations from former Ellen Show employees in a Twitter post.

DeGeneres did not spark the same backlash as many of his sister's celebrity defendants, with many people commenting "#IStandWithEllen' beneath his post.

While some people continue to support DeGeneres and her show, others regard the celebrities defending her as out of touch and missing the point of the original allegations.

The allegations involve racism, bullying and sexual harassment among staff: not it being impossible to have a positive experience as a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Since Buzzfeed's initial articles, more former staff members have spoken out.

Tony Okungbowa, the show's resident DJ for almost a decade between 2003 and 2013 said:

I did experience and feel the toxicity of the environment and I stand with my former colleagues in their quest to create a healthier and more inclusive workplace as the show moves forward.

Former producer Hedda Muskat, meanwhile, told Australian breakfast show Sunrise that she was "emotionally abused" and eventually "fired for no reason".

The Ellen DeGeneres Show and the celebrities and other figures listed as DeGeneres's supporters have been contacted for comment. The list is being continually updated.

This is a developing story and we will bring you updates as they come.

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