A former guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show claims the host’s kind on-screen demeanor is simply ‘all an act’ that ends immediately after the cameras stop rolling.
Dana Dimatteo appeared on the show in 2018 after flying from Chicago to Los Angeles to attend a taping – a prospect the 29-year-old had been incredibly excited about.
Dimatteo was even selected to participate in the ‘Make It Rain’ segment, in which contestants are drenched in water while attempting to win cash prizes.
However, despite being such a big fan of the show and its host, she says she was left disappointed to see how Ellen DeGeneres acted behind the scenes.
‘During commercial breaks, Ellen would break out of her “kind” character and sit moodily in silence on her couch, not acknowledging anyone,’ Dimatteo told the Sun. ‘She didn’t say one word to the audience unless the cameras were on, she snapped out of her character the second the cameras stopped rolling.’
Before appearing on screen with Ellen, Dimatteo also says she and other guests were warned by producers that they were ‘not allowed to be funnier or smarter’ than the host, and to remember ‘she is the star and the comedian, not us.’
‘We were told to act in a very specific way and to only speak if she asked us a question,’ she added. ‘They made us scream and jump around backstage as a test, it was pretty humiliating.’
Once the ‘Make It Rain’ segment was over, Dimatteo claims she was left soaking wet and told to go back stage.
‘Then they just left us there,’ she said. ‘We waited pretty much the whole show in our soaking wet clothes for someone to bring us dry things to change into. It was really uncomfortable and cold.’
Dimatteo, who said that she ‘didn’t enjoy’ her experience, is the latest person to criticize the long-running talk show.
The series is currently undergoing an internal investigation into allegations of on-set sexual misconduct, as well as workplace bullying.
DeGeneres herself has been accused of fostering a ‘toxic environment’ behind the scenes of the show.
In a statement, the 62-year-old apologized for the allegations and said, as the face of the show, she took ‘full responsibility’.
She added that as her program has grown, she had ‘not been able to stay on top of everything’ and had instead ‘relied on others to do their jobs as they knew I’d want them done.’
‘Clearly some didn’t,’ she continued. ‘That will now change and I’m committed to ensuring that doesn’t happen again.’
The investigation was sparked after a number of ex-workers came forward sharing their negative experiences on the show, and anecdotes about the host herself.
Former producer Hedda Muskat recently called Ellen a ‘toxic host’ and claimed the star once laughed after executive producer Ed Glavin screamed at her on set.
An anonymous former employee compared the working environment on the show to the film The Devil Wears Prada on the Australian radio show Stav, Abby & Matt, saying their years spent working there were torturous.
‘I worked there for a little over a year,’ she said, speaking to the hosts on Tuesday. ‘At the show there is a culture of competition. You are constantly reminded that the show is this behemoth, and it will be there with or without you.’
She said it reminded her of the 2006 film, in which Meryl Streep plays an offensive and demanding boss, rumored to be based on Vogue editor Anna Wintour.
‘It’s kind of like The Devil Wears Prada. Everyone is trying to make it to the [end of a] year.
‘It’s just a badge of honor to have that and have it on your resume.’
The former staffer told the Brisbane-based hosts that people were not allowed in the same room as the comedian, and that she had never even met her.
‘Most people are told: “When Ellen enters the room, you and your entire crew need to leave.”
‘Sometimes her bodyguards come forward first and you kind of see them and you know to leave and that’s it.’
The anonymous source said that DeGeneres probably has no idea of ‘what’s going on in her own show at all’.
‘Ellen has no idea who most of the staff are,’ she said. ‘She really has no idea who we are.’
Since the allegations came to light, a number of stars have leaped to Ellen’s defense, including her wife Portia de Rossi, singer Katie Perry, and former TV Host Jay Leno.
Actor Kevin Hart also spoke up for his close friend DeGeneres, with whom she was spotted having lunch with in Montecito on Saturday.
In an Instagram post, Hart wrote that it was ‘crazy to see [his] friend go thru what she’s going thru publicly.’
‘I have known Ellen for years and I can honestly say that she’s one of the dopest people on the f*****g planet.’
While Hart maintained that his post was not ‘meant to disregard the feelings of others and their experiences’ he stressed that DeGeneres has ‘treated my family and my team with love and respect from day 1.’