Portia de Rossi has given an update on her wife Ellen DeGeneres amid claims that Ellen ‘fostered [a] toxic work environment behind the scenes’ on her talk show.
The 47-year-old Arrested Development star told a photographer on Sunday that DeGeneres was ‘doing great’ while she walked her dogs with mother Margaret in Santa Barbara, according to Page Six.
When asked if her 62-year-old wife would continue to helm her long-running talk show, the Australian actress replied, ‘Yes, she is.’
Portia’s comments come amid news that the Ellen DeGeneres Show has seen some of the worst ratings in its 17-year history, as the presenter continues to be plagued by claims of a toxic work environment.
According to The Wrap, the daytime talk show only garnered a 1.0 Live + Same Day rating through the week ending July 26, which was 29 per cent down on the same time last year, and nine per cent down on the previous week.
Viewership for Ellen appears to have been hit hard amid shocking claims that the work culture behind-the-scenes has been rife with bullying, racism and sexual harassment.
Ellen’s show has seen more significant declines than other talk shows, which are all seeing lower ratings as they air reruns during the summer break.
Dr. Oz was also down 22 percent, and The Real and The Doctors have seen 20 percent declines, according to the online publication.
In July, staff on the syndicated daytime talk show cited a number of the show’s executive producers in their complaints, including Kevin Leman and Ed Glavin.
The show is now in the midst of an internal probe from parent company WarnerMedia.
On Tuesday it was reported Ellen will come back to host her show’s 18th season despite claims celebrities including Sean Hayes, Kristen Bell, Melissa McCarthy and Jennifer Aniston were being considered to replace her.
A source close to The Ellen DeGeneres Show said ‘no one is stepping in or taking over’ as the investigation into the claims continue, NBC News reports.
Ellen was reportedly joined by executive producers Andy Lassner, Mary Connelly and Derek Westervelt and senior staff members to ‘address’ the issues on Monday.
Last week, Ellen issued a memo to her staff apologizing for the alleged behavior of senior crew behind-the-scenes.
‘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,’ she wrote.
‘Obviously, something changed, and I am disappointed to learn that this has not been the case. And for that, I am sorry. Anyone who knows me knows it’s the opposite of what I believe and what I hoped for our show.’
DeGeneres said she was unable to ‘stay on top of everything’ with her hosting duties and delegated to ‘others to do their jobs as they knew I’d want them done.
‘Clearly some didn’t. That will now change and I’m committed to ensuring this does not happen again… I’m also learning that people who work with me and for me are speaking on my behalf and misrepresenting who I am and that has to stop.’
She added: ‘As someone who was judged and nearly lost everything for just being who I am, I truly understand and have deep compassion for those being looked at differently, or treated unfairly, not equal, or – worse – disregarded. To think that any one of you felt that way is awful to me.’
Following the claims many celebrities have come out to publicly defend Ellen, including Scooter Braun, DJ/musician Samantha Ronson and her wife of 12 years de Rossi.
Portia who posted a graphic on Instagram saying, ‘I stand by Ellen’ in what appeared to be an attempt to push public sentiment back in the corner of the talk show host.
However some stars have also cryptically come out against Ellen, including Everybody Loves Raymond star Brad Garrett and Back To The Future’s Lea Thompson.
One of the show’s former resident DJs Tony Okungbowa, known to viewers as DJ Tony, also spoke out about his experience working on the show.
He wrote on Instagram: ‘I have been getting calls asking me about the Ellen Degeneres Show and I would like to address the time I spent there.
‘I was on air talent from 2003-2006 and from 2007 -2013. While I am grateful for the opportunity it afforded me, 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.’
A source told the New York Post that the talk show host has been ‘crushed,’ ‘devastated’ and ‘hysterical’ following calls for her to leave the show ahead of its 18th season premiere this September.
‘She felt like everything she worked so hard for was falling apart,’ the insider said.
Sources told the publication that Ellen’s career problems might stem from an incident last fall in which she was seen seen with former president George W. Bush watching a Dallas Cowboys home game against the Green Bay Packers.
Her character also came under fire in late March after a series of tweets from comic Kevin T. Porter (linked to a charity drive for the Los Angeles Food Bank), who requested his followers post ‘insane’ tales of ‘Ellen being mean,’ which blew up on social media with much feedback.
One current and ten former employees of the daytime chat show accused its three executive producers, Ed Glavin, Mary Connelly and Andy Lassner, of ‘bullying.’
The executive producers issued a statement saying: ‘We are truly heartbroken and sorry to learn that even one person in our production family has had a negative experience.’
Lassner also tweeted: ‘Nobody is going off the air.’
Jonathan Norman, a co-executive producer, is alleged to have ‘groomed’ a former employee by taking him to concerts and showering him with other gifts and perks before attempting to perform oral sex on him.
Kevin Leman, the show’s head writer and executive producer, is alleged to have solicited oral sex from an employee. Others say they witnessed Leman grope another colleague.
And Ed, an executive producer, allegedly ‘had a reputation for being handsy with women,’ according to former employees.
Leman and Norman have denied all allegations. Glavin has not addressed the claim publicly yet but is stepping down from his position, according to Variety.
Warner Bros., the studio that runs the show, has declined to comment on the sexual harassment allegations, citing an ongoing internal investigation.
Multiple staff members at the show have also told DailyMail.com they are not buying Ellen’s apology and are calling on her to call it quits.
One staffer said, ‘She’s only addressing this now because the publicity is so bad for her and her BS brand of happiness and kindness. Ellen can throw everyone else under the bus, but the buck stops with her.
‘Whenever she’d tell viewers to choose kindness, I’d throw up a little in my mouth because she always chose the opposite,’ they added.
A BuzzFeed News’ July 16 expose revealed claims made by one current and 10 former employees of Ellen’s talk show accused Lassner, Connelly and executive producer Ed Glavin of bullying.
The current and former staff said that they experienced racism, fear and intimidation while working on the long-running series and said that Ellen should have stepped in on their behalf.
The show then faced additional accusations about sexual misconduct, lobbed on July 30 in another BuzzFeed News article, in which dozens of men and women named show producers Kevin Leman, Glavin and Jonathan Norman with alleged incidents of sexual harassment, misconduct or assault.
Among the allegations was one made by a black woman who claimed she suffered a number of ‘microaggressions,’ her request for a raise was ignored and she was accused of ‘walking around looking resentful and angry’ after asking for staff members to undergo diversity and inclusion training.
Another former employee alleged they were fired after taking medical leave for one month following a suicide attempt.
Our source said: ‘She was happy to put her name on the show, yet she let those three executive producers do whatever they wanted. The fish rots from the head and Ellen and the three of them are now rotting.’
They also claimed Ellen and her executive producers will be on a ‘witch hunt’ now to find who spoke out against them.
‘Don’t think for a second that there won’t be a witch hunt to find out who went public with the worst kept secret in television,’ they said. ‘Ellen is mean. She’ll want vengeance for all of this coming out.’