The applause ended at Ellen DeGeneres’ flagship show but was marred by controversy

Los Angeles (AFP) – For nearly two decades, “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and its openly lesbian host have graced American homes, shattering stereotypes while dazzling viewers with a clever mix of entertaining and celebrity interviews.

But after more than 3,000 episodes, the talk show, which rivaled Oprah Winfrey, ended Thursday on a bitter note, due to testimonials recounting its toxic work environment. The stark contrast to its motto, “Be nice.”

Ellen DeGeneres remembered last month, “When we started the show in 2003, the iPhone didn’t exist. Social media wasn’t around. And same-sex marriage wasn’t legal.”

“We’ve seen the world change, sometimes for the better, sometimes not.”

The cultural landscape has changed dramatically since 1997, when the star, who is best known as a comedian, was featured as gay — simultaneously on television as Elaine, her character on the sitcom of the same name, and in real life, on the cover of Time magazine. .

Eileen is the first main character in a TV series Graduation, and if her translator was promptly pushed into gay icon status, the sitcom would be canceled a year later due to the wand’s return. This is the beginning of a five-year desert crossing, before Ellen DeGeneres reinvents herself as an animator.

“It was an event, a milestone,” says Mary Murphy, a professor of journalism at the University of Southern California, but it has also become controversial.

“She led the way. She was perhaps – and may still be – America’s most famous LGBTQ.”

Very famous guests

If Ellen DeGeneres never hid her sexuality, her address book is overflowing with very famous guests and her light weight has made her a hit, especially in the more conservative areas of the United States.

For 19 seasons, the whole of Hollywood scrambled to find a place on the host’s sofa, where they could comfortably promote themselves, and not be pushed beyond simple teasing.

Compulsory segment: The dance at the beginning of each programme. Barack Obama, who was an aspiring young senator, drew a few steps for Beyoncé’s song “Crazy in Love” in 2007.

Some celebrities came more than ten times. Actress Jennifer Aniston will return as the first guest to complete the episode last Thursday.

“She’s one with the celebs, it’s their girlfriend. They know it. And she makes everything cute,” says Mary Murphy.

“Maybe because she suffered herself, she didn’t want to hurt others. She wasn’t trying to hurt them.”

But this game’s plateau wasn’t just for the stars: audiences, or the latest YouTube sensations, were regularly invited to enjoy a quarter-hour of glory, sometimes for grotesque games.

“Ellen is such a fun, goofy, eccentric character who doesn’t take herself too seriously,” said Jitinder Sedev, author of The Kim Kardashian Doctrine.

“We’ve never seen a talk show host look like her or act like her…it was the woman with the short hair and the pantsuit, while everyone was blow drying their hair.”

“contradictions”

But rumors of a less rosy atmosphere behind the scenes exploded to light when Buzzfeed published an investigation into the show’s toxic work environment in 2020, including reports of sexual harassment, bullying and racism.

Three of the show’s producers were fired. Ellen DeGeneres was accused of not knowing how to run her team, and of being less sympathetic in private life than she was on camera.

Last May, when the show’s end was announced, she nonetheless denied any connection to these controversies.

“I needed a new challenge,” she told The Hollywood Reporter.

But the controversy only piled on the star, once again at the center of criticism for his defense of comedian Kevin Hart, who skipped hosting the Academy Awards in 2018 after old tweets deemed anti-gay resurfaced.

“Suddenly, she lost her luck a little bit,” Mary Murphy analyzes.

She adds that she seemed “close to the celebrity, close to the public, but far from those who work with her.”

For Jitinder Sedef, Ellen DeGeneres has always been “full of contradictions.”

It is “part of the reason why it is so attractive to so many people” and “the reason why its integrity, credibility and authenticity are questioned,” he said.

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