What interesting timing! After leading her popular daytime talk show for a mighty 19 seasons, Ellen DeGeneres will be ending Ellen in 2022 when her contract expires. Speaking to THR about her decision to step away from the show, DeGeneres insisted that it wasn’t due to the recent toxicity and misconduct allegations that have plagued Ellen, but rather stemmed from conversations with family and friends over several years about professional fulfillment. “Look, it’s going to be really hard on the last day, but I also know it’s time. I’m a creative person, and when you’re a creative person you constantly need to be challenged,” DeGeneres told THR. “I just needed something to challenge me. And as great as this show is, and as fun as it is, it’s just not a challenge anymore. I need something new to challenge me.” She added, about what to expect from her future projects, “I don’t even know the answer. I’ve been trying to think about that. I have some ideas.”
When asked about the numerous allegations from July 2020 about Ellen’s toxic work environment, which included staffer stories about widespread racism, fear, and intimidation, DeGeneres said that they were “very hurtful” to her. She also called some of the claims, such as staffers alleging they couldn’t make direct eye contact with her, “so stupid.” (The allegations spurred three of the show’s executive producers to be fired in August 2020, in addition to the show’s ratings significantly tanking.) “It destroyed me, honestly. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t. And it makes me really sad that there’s so much joy out there from negativity. It’s a culture now where there are just mean people, and it’s so foreign to me that people get joy out of that,” DeGeneres said about the claims. “I’m not a scary person. I’m really easy to talk to. So, we’ve all learned from things that we didn’t realize — or I didn’t realize — were happening. I just want people to trust and know that I am who I appear to be.” In the meantime, always remember to “be kind.” Or not.
Update 9:00 p.m.: Ellen DeGeneres officially announced to her audience that Ellen will come to a close in 2022, revealing in a YouTube video that “next season will be my last season.” She explained that while “this show has been the greatest experience of my life,” she “always knew that season 19 will be my last.” DeGeneres continued, “The truth is, I always trust my instincts. My instinct told me it’s time.” Now somebody get Dakota Johnson’s reaction.