It has been a year of unflattering revelations for Ellen DeGeneres. The 62-year-old host of the tv show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, has suffered one blow to her reputation after another. It seemed unlikely for it to get worse for the tv show host, but it just has with new allegations of her bullying a child.
DeGeneres has built a reputation around being friendly, kind, and welcoming. The Ellen Show focuses on interviewing celebrities and helping people out. From those who have suffered catastrophic personal losses, to those whose charity endeavors have earned them public praise, DeGeneres is known for supporting people and making dreams come true.
A Dark Side Of Ellen
A darker side to the 62-year-old came to light this year, as her show came under fire for egregious behavior among her producers, and for bullying behavior towards guests and even fans. We looked into some of the accusations against DeGeneres and her producers, and they are shocking.
Three producers who work for her were accused of inappropriate sexual behavior towards staff lower down on the totem, and fans and guests responded to a tweet accusing the show of creating a toxic work and guest environment backstage. Some staffers were accused of bullying or mistreating guests, and some say DeGeneres was cold or rude.
Fans of the show were, understandably, skeptical. With a reputation as lengthy and positive as the one DeGeneres boasts, these accusations are jarring and don’t mesh well with what people feel they know about her.
Unfortunately, it seems as though being cold to guests and low-ranking staff members is the very tip of the host’s problematic iceberg.
What are the new bullying accusations?
This time, the accusations of rude behavior come from DeGeneres’s past. Far in her past. The DailyMailTV reports in an exclusive interview that Ben Gravolet, a now-52-year-old VP for a marketing agency, accuses DeGeneres of, “vile,” and, “bullying behavior.”
Gravolet, a Louisiana native, tells DailyMailTV that DeGeneres worked for his mom’s recruitment agency in the 1970s when she was in her 20’s. DailyMailTV reports Gravolet claims that he would, “dread,” the days he would have to go to his mom’s office after school or on sick days if he knew DeGeneres would be there.
Gravolet says ”She would criticize my weight. I would try to do homework in the office, she’d call me stupid, she’d call me fat. She would criticize my shoes. I was just a boy and this was a grown woman who took pleasure in seeing me become visibly upset. I don’t think there’s any excuse for it. I was a defenseless kid. What could I have told her back?”
The now-52-year-old continues in his interview with DailyMailTV, “It has an effect if somebody in a superior position to you, who’s much older, goes, ‘You’re fat. You might want to lose some of that weight, chunky boy.’ I was always self-conscious about my weight and it made things worse.”
He adds that “One incident stands out in my mind… … I was sitting beside her desk. I was drawing, and she criticized the drawings. She said, ‘I guess that would look nice if you could draw.’ As I watched her meteoric rise to fame, people would say how great she was and all I could think was she must be an incredible actor because she was one of the most vile people I’ve ever met in my life… …Who takes pleasure in giving a child pain?”
Gravolet speaks out in the wake of the accusations against DeGeneres’s staff, to corroborate their recount of events while guests or employees of the tv host. Gravolet says that he feels as though DeGeneres loved to hoard power over people lower on the totem, and she enjoyed feeling superior.
Gravolet’s mother, Tana Robinson, claims she only recently found out about the bullying and also spoke to DailyMailTV, saying, “I think I probably fired her. Had I known that was going on, I’d have punched her and then fired her.” The 72-year-old mama bear adds, “I can’t even put myself in the shoes of someone at that age that dislikes children so much or whose ego is so low that she has to smash a child to feel good about herself. A bully is a good word for it. She never tried to bully me because she knew she couldn’t. So she bullied him with me not knowing about it.”
Degeneres had previously responded to the accusations of her producers and about workplace toxicity with a letter to staff: “Hey everybody — it’s Ellen. On day one of our show, I told everyone in our first meeting that The Ellen DeGeneres Show would be a place of happiness — no one would ever raise their voice, and everyone would be treated with respect. Obviously, something changed, and I am disappointed to learn that this has not been the case. And for that, I am sorry. Anyone who knows me knows it’s the opposite of what I believe and what I hoped for our show.
I could not have the success I’ve had without all of your contributions. My name is on the show and everything we do and I take responsibility for that. Alongside Warner Bros, we immediately began an internal investigation and we are taking steps, together, to correct the issues. As we’ve grown exponentially, I’ve not been able to stay on top of everything and relied on others to do their jobs as they knew I’d want them done. Clearly some didn’t. That will now change and I’m committed to ensuring this does not happen again.
I’m also learning that people who work with me and for me are speaking on my behalf and misrepresenting who I am and that has to stop. As someone who was judged and nearly lost everything for just being who I am, I truly understand and have deep compassion for those being looked at differently, or treated unfairly, not equal, or — worse — disregarded. To think that any one of you felt that way is awful to me.
It’s been way too long, but we’re finally having conversations about fairness and justice. We all have to be more mindful about the way our words and actions affect others, and I’m glad the issues at our show were brought to my attention. I promise to do my part in continuing to push myself and everyone around me to learn and grow. It’s important to me and to Warner Bros. that everyone who has something to say can speak up and feels safe doing so.
I am so proud of the work we do and the fun and joy we all help put out in the world. I want everyone at home to love our show and I want everyone who makes it to love working on it. Again, I’m so sorry to anyone who didn’t have that experience. If not for COVID, I’d have done this in person, and I can’t wait to be back on our stage and see you all then.
Stay safe and healthy.
Hard to say what DeGeneres will say in response to these newest allegations, but they certainly don’t cast the comedian in the most flattering light. A story this old corroborates what employees and guests have said over the years, and will probably be taken into consideration by Warner Media as they investigate the accusations against The Ellen Show’s producers.