On her first show of the season, Ellen DeGeneres addressed all leaks about her show being a toxic workplace environment in front of a virtual audience:
If you’re watching because you love me, thank you. If you’re watching because you don’t love me, welcome. How was everybody’s summer, good? Mine was great. Super terrific. I’m so happy to be back in the studio. There are a lot of things I want to talk about. I’ve been looking forward to addressing it directly, and unfortunately, talking directly to people has been illegal for six months, so I have a virtual audience here instead. . . . As you may have heard this summer, there were allegations of a toxic work environment at our show. And then there was an investigation. I learned that things happened here that never should have happened. I take that very seriously, and I want to say I am so sorry to the people that were affected. I know that I’m in a position of privilege and power, and I realize that with that comes responsibility, and I take responsibility for what happens at my show. This is The Ellen DeGeneres Show. I am Ellen DeGeneres, My name is there. [Points to signs.] My name is in underwear. We have had a lot of conversations over the last few weeks about the show, our workplace, and what we want for the future. We have made the necessary changes, and today, we are starting a new chapter.
There were also articles in the press and on social media that say that I am not who I appear to be on TV, because I became known as the Be Kind Lady, and here’s how that happened. I started saying ‘Be kind to one another,’ after a young man named Tyler Clementi took his own life after being bullied for being gay. I thought the world needed more kindness, and it was a reminder that we all needed that, and I think we need it more than ever right now. Being known as the Be Kind Lady is a tricky position to be in, so let me give you some advice out there. If anybody’s thinking of changing their title or giving themselves a nickname, do not go with the Be Kind Lady. Don’t do it. The truth is, I am that person that you see on TV. I am also a lot of other things. Sometimes I get sad, I get mad, I get anxious, I get frustrated, I get impatient, and I am working on all of that. I am a work in progress.
I’m a pretty good actress, but I don’t think I could come out here every day for 17 years and fool you. This is me, and my intention is to always be the best person I can be. And if I’ve ever let someone down, if I’ve ever hurt someone’s feelings, I am so sorry for that. If that’s ever the case, I’ve let myself down and I’ve hurt myself as well. Because I always try to grow as a person. I look at everything in life as an opportunity to learn.