Ellen DeGeneres keeps telling us she's sorry, but how many times does she have to apologise before the world forgives her?
The US television star and founder of a global media behemoth employing more than 1000 people has a personal fortune estimated at more than $450 million by Forbes magazine.
Three of The Ellen DeGeneres Show’s producers left the show over the northern summer.Credit:AP
The claims of bullying and sexual misconduct behind the scenes of her show are among the most serious to plague any workplace, but before we demand DeGeneres' head on a silver platter, is her crime simply ignorance, albeit wilful or otherwise?
She has now offered her third and most public apology as the scandals that have riddled her TV show since the start of the year threaten her future career.
And once again DeGeneres was labelled disingenuous and her apology fake by her loudest detractors, of which there are many.
But what were her actual crimes that started all this? Supposedly banning her minions from making eye contact and having one of them removed after she dared display chipped nail polish. Yep, a real monster, though given the treatment she has received you'd think she was Harvey Weinstein.
Of course DeGeneres' real motivation for her extraordinary televised mea culpa last week rests in the far more serious claims of a toxic workplace culture which has been allowed to fester in her name. Dozens of anonymous employees have made allegations of workplace bullying, racism and sexual misconduct, allegations which contradict DeGeneres' daily "be kind" mantra.
Clearly she was blind-sided by the allegations. She quickly sacked several key staffers, the very people she had entrusted to steer her ship.
But for those baying for blood, it still isn't enough.
DeGeneres, one of the most famous people in the world, maintains she had no idea about what was going on, and to be fair that is a plausible excuse, just as Queen Elizabeth II has little idea as to what goes on in the kitchen at Buckingham Palace.
DeGeneres may be listed as her show's executive producer, but she is much more than that; she's the headline act.
Portia de Rossi and Ellen DeGeneres arrive at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards.Credit:AP
Just as her fame means DeGeneres is unable to walk down a street and not be noticed, let alone mobbed, her celebrity also means she is unlikely to share an office with her staff or swap jokes around the water cooler.
The former stand-up comic has battled bigotry from the start. She famously outed herself as gay on prime time US television only to lose it all and end up virtually penniless in the 1990s.
Then she launched her own production company 17 years ago.
A Very Good Production – and DeGeneres – have grown to become one of Hollywood's major players. DeGeneres is listed as executive producer of America's The Ellen DeGeneres Show, which is broadcast to 23 countries outside the US and for which she is reportedly paid a staggering US$50 million a year.
She is also the EP of Ellen’s Game of Games, Little Big Shots, Fempire, Fearless, Press Pause, Go RVing, DiversiTEA with Naomi Wadler, Splitting Up Together, Ellen’s Design Challenge, Green Eggs and Ham and more.
Through the Ellentube website, a YouTube channel that has 28.3 million subscribers, and social media, The Ellen Digital Network amasses more than 1 billion views every month from 187 million followers. Her reach is huge.
DeGeneres was reportedly paid US$25 million for her Netflix comedy special Relatable and brings in many millions more through licensing and endorsement deals that include CoverGirl cosmetics, US retailer JCPenney, Vitamin Water, Olay and American Express.
She also has her own line of lifestyle products, ED by Ellen DeGeneres, which includes pet supplies (she’s a renowned animal lover), clothing and home goods that are sold across the US in major stores such as Walmart and Bed Bath & Beyond.
Then there are the 50-plus charities she has aligned herself with, and her political activism.
Clearly she is a busy woman, so I believed her when she said: "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 realise 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."
“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."
So she's human and fallible, just like the rest of us, can't we forgive her for that?
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