Earlier this week, Ellen DeGeneres announced that she will be ending her daytime talk show in 2022.
While the show had been on the air for almost two decades, the announcement didn’t exactly come as a surprise, coming almost a year after Warner Media announced they were investigating the Ellen DeGeneres Show over toxic workplace allegations.
On Thursday morning, in a new interview with TODAY’S Savannah Guthrie, DeGeneres denied those accusations being the inspiration behind her decision to end the show.
“If it was why I was quitting, I would have not come back this year,” she said. “I really did think about not coming back because it did, you know, it was devastating. I am a kind person. I am a person who likes to make people happy.”
DeGeneres went on to say she had “no idea” of any alleged toxicity among the show’s team and “never saw anything that would even point to that.” When she was asked by Guthrie how she would respond to someone who might argue that she had to have known what was going on, DeGeneres pointed to the size of the show’s staff, expressing disappointment that no one came to her directly.
“I don’t know how I could have known when there’s 255 employees here and there are a lot of different buildings, unless I literally stayed here until the last person goes home at night,” she said. “It is my name on the show so clearly it affects me and I have to be the one to stand up and say, ‘This can’t be tolerated.’ But I do wish somebody would have come to me and said, ‘Hey, something’s going on that you should know about.’”
When Guthrie asked DeGeneres if she felt like she was being “canceled,” the host responded by questioning the intentions of the recent criticisms against her.
“I mean, I really didn’t understand it,” she said. “I still don’t understand it. It was too orchestrated. It was too coordinated. And, you know, people get picked on. But [it was] for four months straight for me. 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 and what a happy place it is.”