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Ellen DeGeneres is the new target of cancel culture. Does she deserve it?

2020 has been pretty tough for everyone, but Ellen DeGeneres is badly hit.

The renowned American talk show host has been on the receiving end of cancel culture after several people stepped forward to tell their stories of how Ellen’s “be kind” mantra behind her multi-million dollar program is actually just for the show. While this news is not new, with rumors surrounding Ellen not being cold or nasty circulating for some time now, the most recent testimonies involve issues of racism and bullying.

Sources composed of 1 current and 10 former Ellen employees told Buzzfeed News that people were allegedly fired for taking bereavement days and medical leave. Some of them claimed they were instructed not to talk to Ellen when they were at the office. One Black employee allegedly quit the job having been too “fed up” of the racist treatment she had been receiving. A main writer even told her, “I only know the names of the white people who work here.”

These stories were backed up by Tony Okungbowa, Ellen’s former program DJ.

While these employees don’t exactly put the blame on Ellen DeGeneres but rather on the executive producers and senior managers, the talk show host herself has been subject to controversies prior to this newly-surfaced issue of toxic work culture.

In May, a user named Kevin T. Porter started a thread on Twitter encouraging people to tell their own stories of Ellen being mean. Several users have joined the thread with their own stories of real-life encounters with Ellen and finding out she’s grumpy or cold or generally just an unpleasant person to be around.

Also, when the pandemic struck, several employees in her show complained about having their pay cut by 60% due to miscommunication. Recently, DeGeneres drew flak on social media when she described being quarantined in her mansion as like “being in jail,” which internet users deemed insensitive. There is also a myriad of videos on Youtube detailing how nasty Ellen could be towards her celebrity guests.

All of these have resulted in a collective outburst of hate and criticism, threatening not only the show but also Ellen’s career.

Does she deserve to be canceled?

Even Ellen herself admits that she is not the nicest person. (Check out her own Netflix special, Relatable, where she acknowledges that yes, she has her blind spots.)

Toxic workplace, rude interviews, insensitive comments, they are all terrible things. As with the issue of mistreating employees, people have rightfully called them out. DeGeneres has expressed her apology. “On day one of our show, I told everyone in our first meeting that ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’ would be a place of happiness — no one would ever raise their voice, and everyone would be treated with respect,” DeGeneres wrote. “Obviously, something changed, and I am disappointed to learn that this has not been the case.” She and her team have promised to fix things up. 

However, when it comes to going as far as demanding her show be forced to go off-air, this merely reflects the unfairness of the cancel culture. Fine, she is not as nice as her TV image suggests, but does that merit us the license to call for a total shut down of the career she has worked all her life building?

Also, are you as clean as you present yourself to be? If you would have the public’s attention 27/7, with paparazzi stalking you around and your millions of followers watching every word you say, would you last a year without doing anything that will have a single raising an eyebrow at you?

Many of these criticisms thrown at her came from the expectation that she should be the fun, nice, clever person that her show has branded her all the time. Some of the critics’ stories– whether firsthand or secondhand– could even be translated into, “I’m holding her accountable for the pain and embarrassment I felt because she did not notice me.” Yep, someone on Twitter said he took his mother to the show once, and the mother was so disappointed because the show only gave the audience someone’s autobiography.

All of this info surfacing online can say a lot about Ellen as a person, but our reaction to it reveals more about us, specifically how quickly we can just decide whom we don’t like, and then do or say whatever it takes until our target gets deleted from the face of the earth. We don’t even have to wait to find out what happens if we succeed at bringing down Ellen DeGeneres. We see it happen almost every day.

Does Ellen deserve to be canceled?

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Does Ellen deserve to be canceled?

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