Ellen DeGeneres opened her first monologue of season 18 of The Ellen DeGeneres Show with a lengthy apology regarding the events of the past few months. A saga that started with comedian Kevin T. Porter's charity tweet, which asked for stories of the TV host's alleged behind-the-scenes cruelty, unraveled into a PR nightmare for DeGeneres and Warner Brothers that spanned months. The events resulted in major firings within The Ellen DeGeneres Show and a structural shakeup from the top down (DeGeneres herself excluded).
DeGeneres' image has for many years been the "be kind lady," a persona built to be glimmering and lovable, which launched her from a fresh and surprisingly chill voice in the 90s comedy scene to the icon of LGBT representation and famous TV host she is today. However, rumblings that Ellen was secretly mean behind-the-scenes of the show had existed for a long time, and this summer they rapidly shifted from rumblings, to tremors, to an earth-shattering quake for The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Accounts of DeGeneres making ridiculous demands of her staff, both on set and during guest appearances, as well as wild stories from fans who met her in public, and allegations of the show being a seriously toxic workplace environment were made public over the summer, and led to the future of The Ellen DeGeneres Show itself being called into question.
The month of August saw Warner Bros. scrambling to save face and pin the tail on the producers they fired, which (in concert with a series of secretive staff meetings regarding the toxicity of the workplace) have kept the show alive for season 18. During the opening monologue of the season 18 premiere today too, DeGeneres addressed the allegations and apologized for letting down both the public-at-large and her staff. You can watch the full monologue below, with the apology starting at around the 54-second mark:
Speaking to a virtual audience, the apology itself goes on for several minutes, with DeGeneres first apologizing to the "people who were affected" by the toxic work environment that had been created behind-the-scenes of the show, and subsequently taking responsibility for what happened during the making of a show that has her name all over it. The host also said that, after several weeks of conversations about the show, the workplace, and what they want for the future, she and The Ellen DeGeneres Show's creative team have made the "necessary changes" so that they can start a new chapter in the show's history. The host rounds out the apology by speaking for several minutes about her reputation as the "be kind lady," acknowledging how she's sometimes failed to live up to her own persona in the past. Of course, as is the case with all public apologies of this nature, there will no doubt be many discussions regarding just how sincere DeGeneres' comments are, especially considering how heavily the host's past statements have been called into question in recent months.
DeGeneres' apology also comes not only after several months of public accusations being made against her and several other Ellen DeGeneres Show producers, but also months of speculation about the show's future. Many thought The Ellen DeGeneres Show would not return for another season, while others thought that Warner Bros. would simply replace DeGeneres as its host.