Ellen DeGeneres’ reputation for ‘being mean’ was discussed on Australian reality show I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! almost two years ago – offering further evidence that her alleged behaviour was an open secret in Hollywood.
Two of the contestants, the Bold and the Beautiful actress Katherine Kelly Lang and American gossip reporter Richard Reid, shared the rumours they’d heard about DeGeneres during a late-night conversation about ‘molls’ in showbusiness.
‘Moll’, sometimes spelled ‘mole’, is an Australian slang term for a rude or unpleasant woman.
Lang and Reid claimed that the 62-year-old comedian – whose philosophy is ‘be kind to each other’ – was ‘very bossy’, ‘not nice’, and ‘completely different’ from her upbeat on-screen persona.
Their comments, which first aired on Network 10 in January 2019, resurfaced on Friday after multiple staffers alleged that bullying, racism and sexual harassment were rampant behind the scenes of The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
The conversation began when fellow campmate Angie Kent asked Lang, 59, who was the biggest ‘moll’ in showbusiness.
Reid, 51, whispered: ‘Ellen. Not nice.’
Lang agreed, saying: ‘She’s great to watch on her show and everything, but I think her personality is completely different when you get her behind the scenes.’
‘I’ve heard it’s hard to work on her show,’ Reid replied.
‘Oh, because she’s very bossy or something?’ Lang asked, and Richard nodded.
Kent was clearly disappointed by the pair’s claims, muttering mournfully: ‘Wow… that’s really disappointing.’
Reid then said to Lang: ‘I’m glad to hear that somebody else has heard that.’
At the time, there was some industry gossip about DeGeneres being unkind to employees, but no significant allegations had been made.
In an interview with the New York Times in December 2018, she branded the rumours about her prickly demeanour ‘outright lies’.
She said: ‘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.’
It comes as her popular daytime talk show faces an internal investigation following numerous allegations of a ‘toxic’ and ‘bullying’ workplace culture.
An internal memo sent last week explained that current and former staff will be interviewed about claims of ‘mistreatment, racism and intimidation’ behind the scenes.
DeGeneres hasn’t been accused of any wrongdoing herself.
Several previous employees have claimed that DeGeneres was unfriendly on set and that crew members were warned not to talk to her or make eye contact.
Meanwhile, DeGeneres is now allegedly telling senior figures at Telepictures and Warner Bros. that she has had enough and wants to pull the plug on the show.
Last Thursday, she attempted to do some internal damage control by issuing an apology email to current staffers, in which she appeared to deflect all blame and noted that she was ‘disappointed’ to learn the show was not ‘a place of happiness’.
The email was immediately met with backlash, with many expressing disappointment over Ellen shifting the blame to her executive producers.