Dakota Johnson on Ellen

So The Ellen DeGeneres Show Is Ending …

That's one way to avoid all the issues brought up by your staff!

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Well, the end of an era is now. The Ellen DeGeneres Show is coming to an end, and in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, DeGeneres herself talked about how this was planned and a long time coming even if it is sad for her and her team to say goodbye to the show.

Part of the reasoning DeGeneres gave for moving on is that she wants to be “challenged” again. Encouraged by her wife, Portia de Rossi, to leave the show seasons ago, DeGeneres stayed on for four more seasons because of the encouragement of her brother, Vance DeGeneres.

“But you’re right, my brother was like, “People look forward to this show every day, and there aren’t many shows out there that are just pure joy like this.” He’s always been my biggest advocate and, not that Portia isn’t, but she’s also selfish and wants me to do things that I’m challenged by and she’s watched me come home every day saying, “I just feel like there’s something more I could be doing.” I care about the environment. I care about animals. I care about design and furniture … So, definitely people have been saying, “Why don’t we just try to go a little longer?” But 19 years is a long time to do anything.”

But what’s super interesting is that this announcement of her ending the show in 2022 comes after Dakota Johnson started the downfall of Ellen. Back when things were still seemingly going well for the host, Dakota Johnson came on her show during the holiday season and was not afraid to tell Ellen that she was lying on national television. The popular meme, which featured Johnson saying, “Actually, no that’s not the truth” to Ellen, spawned the shift for the “lovable” comedian host.

Dakota Johnson Ellen meme

(NBC)

Now, this was in 2019 and heralded everyone realizing that DeGeneres’ “Be Kind” mantra wasn’t really put into effect at her own show. In the summer of 2020, employees of the show came out with toxic workplace allegations that spawned a conversation surrounding the show and what was going on behind the scenes, seemingly without DeGeneres’ knowledge.

“‘If she wants to have her own show and have her name on the show title, she needs to be more involved to see what’s going on,” one former employee said. “I think the executive producers surround her and tell her, ‘Things are going great, everybody’s happy,’ and she just believes that, but it’s her responsibility to go beyond that.'”

In her interview with The Hollywood Reporter, DeGeneres addressed the workplace allegations and how they impacted her at the time, stating,

“So, there was an internal investigation, obviously, and we learned some things but this culture we’re living is [is one where] no one can make mistakes. And I don’t want to generalize because there are some bad people out there and those people shouldn’t work again but, in general, the culture today is one where you can’t learn and grow, which is, as human beings, what we’re here to do. And I can see people looking at that going, “You don’t care about what people [went through.]” I care tremendously. It broke my heart when I learned that people here had anything other than a fantastic experience — that people were hurt in any way. I check in now as much as I can through Zoom to different departments and I make sure people know that if there’s ever a question or ever anything, they can come to me and I don’t know why that was never considered before. 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.”

Sure. It’s a weird way of saying that actions have consequences. DeGeneres went on to talk about how all of this did have her questioning whether or not she’d return to the show and how everything started as small waves and then escalated throughout the months that the investigation was going on:

“Yeah, yeah, yeah. It was four solid months. And you have to understand, in that time, someone got into our house and robbed us and I lost four animals — three cats and a dog died. It was a tsunami. When it started, with that stupid “someone couldn’t look me in the eye” or whatever the first thing was, it’s like a crest of a wave. Like, “This isn’t going to be that big of a wave.” And then it just keeps getting bigger and bigger until it was out of control. And I really, honestly, felt like, “I don’t deserve this. I don’t need this. I know who I am. I’m a good person.” And I was sitting back going, “If I was someone watching this, I would think, ‘Well, there must be some truth to it because it’s not stopping.’” Of course they’re going to believe this because I’m not addressing it because I was told not to and you can imagine what that felt like. And it’s a lot to live up to. I started saying “be kind to one another” because I really believe people should be kind to one another and so it was easy clickbait to say, “Oh, the be kind lady isn’t so kind.” … I am kind, I’m also a woman and I’m a boss.”

During the entire issue with Ellen, celebrities were coming out of the woodwork to say that the talk show host was nice to them when they were on the show. And well, you’re famous. And the problem clearly stemmed from an environment behind the scenes that led to the toxic instances that former employees were commenting on, many of which came for people other than Ellen DeGeneres herself. Well … then Kevin T. Porter started a thread for people to share all of their “Ellen” stories, and a lot of rumors about how Ellen DeGeneres is one of the meaner people in Hollywood came to light. No really, it was a long-standing “rumor” that Ellen is not the “be kind” lady she projects.

All of this to say that Ellen ending in 2022 after everything that came to light in 2020 is just … well, it’s funny, quite frankly. The idea that we’re supposed to just believe that it was because her contract was ending and that she doesn’t feel challenged? Especially after she had her show going on during the pandemic when she’d make producer Andy Lassner sit outside her house and do wild things the entire time?

I’m sure there is truth in that Ellen DeGeneres wanted out of the show. I’m sure that her contract is coming to an end. But brushing off the concept of the show ending because of what happened last year doesn’t really sit well with me. Sure, she might not have wanted to come back to the show after all of that, but also, if she was under contract, it might not have been her choice.

Whatever is or isn’t happening behind the scenes, The Ellen DeGeneres Show is over, and with that has come a new resurgence of the Dakota Johnson meme and I, for one, am grateful for that.

And may we give our thanks to Kevin T. Porter.

(image: NBC)

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Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.