Today's Savannah Guthrie covered a lot of ground in a nearly 30-minute interview Thursday with Ellen DeGeneres regarding the impending end of DeGeneres’s long-running talk show. In the interview, DeGeneres said she felt as though there were “coordinated” and “misogynistic” attacks against her last year around the time reports about her show being a toxic work environment were made public. She also said she regrets becoming the “be kind lady” and that she was unaware of the work environment she was accused of creating.
Regarding the workplace issues, DeGeneres conceded that because the show “grew so big so fast,” there were employees she didn’t get to know or ensure they were doing well. She also stated that it’s hard to live up to the continual scrutiny of being labeled the “be kind lady” and that because she’s human, she may not have always been happy and upbeat in certain moments on the job. When Guthrie asked what DeGeneres would prefer her motto to be knowing what she does now, the talk show host replied “Go fuck yourself” in an attempt at a joke.
When Guthrie later called DeGeneres out about the joy she gleans from scaring her guests, the talk show host refused to acknowledge Guthrie’s genuine concern based on personal experience.
The section of the interview began when Guthrie read a list of stats accumulated during the run of the show that began in 2003.
“64 Emmys, 134 million in gifts and donations, 1,600 musical guests, 2,400 different celebrities, and they even have a stat for how many times you’ve scared your guests — 200 times,” Guthrie said.
“That’s not many,” DeGeneres replied. “Two hundred times out of 3,000 shows is not enough.”
Then Guthrie countered DeGeneres’s assertion adding in a personal moment.
“Two hundred times is a lot, and one time was with me,” Guthrie said. “Why do you do that? I know I ask you this every time.”
DeGeneres failed to read Guthrie’s facial expression and tone and replied, “Because it’s fun. You know it’s fun.”
“It wasn’t fun in the moment. Those were real tears,” Guthrie said.
Still, not reading the cues, DeGeneres insisted, “But now it’s fun.”
Guthrie wrapped it up with an unenthusiastic “It’s fun to think about.” She then asked if DeGeneres would miss scaring people the most when the show ends after its 19th season.
“No, because I can still scare people,” DeGeneres said. Later, DeGeneres admitted that she is not easily scared, nor would she attempt to scare her wife, Portia de Rossi.
Earlier this week, DeGeneres announced she would end her show after the 19th season, citing being no longer “challenged” as the central reason for the decision. The choice to bow out follows increased public scrutiny over the environment on the show and a 43 percent plummet in viewers since a BuzzFeed exposé revealed the toxicity behind the scenes of her show and DeGeneres issued a public apology for not knowing what was happening there. Among the issues on the show were sexual misconduct allegations leveled against top executives, including executive producer and head writer Kevin Leman, who is accused of asking a male employee for a hand job or oral sex.