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Ellen DeGeneres niceness facade began showing cracks with last year's disastrous Dakota Johnson interview

  • Vox

    "DeGeneres’s reputation began showing wear months ago," says Alex Abad-Santos. "A pivotal moment in the dismantling of DeGeneres’s persona as TV’s friendliest talk show host happened in November during an interview with actress and celebrity scion Dakota Johnson. The interview, like most of DeGeneres’s interviews, seemed to be casual, as if DeGeneres and Johnson were old friends. But this typical pattern was subverted and dove into awkward territory when DeGeneres asked Johnson about why she wasn’t invited to Johnson’s recent 30th birthday party. The implication: Dakota Johnson is too cool for nice Ellen, or maybe she’s even a mean girl...Through admonishing Johnson, DeGeneres was caught fibbing and inadvertently drew attention to her controversial hangout with (George W.) Bush. For DeGeneres, who has built her career on being seen as authentically nice, her fib tarnished her reputation even more than watching a game with George W. Bush did." Abad-Santos adds of Ellen's recent toxic workplace controversy: "At this point, more and more people are coming forward about how awful it was to work at certain television shows with certain actors, writers rooms, creatives, and Hollywood bigwigs, bringing the reality of what it’s like working in Hollywood to light. The stories about abuse and caustic workplaces seem like symptoms of a bigger problem — an industry with little to no oversight or protections for its workers. But what makes The Ellen DeGeneres Show production team’s alleged transgressions more shocking is that DeGeneres has built an entire career and celebrity status by assuring us that she wasn’t like other celebrities. DeGeneres’s brand is about being so relentlessly kind and so interminably inoffensive that you didn’t have to worry about Ellen ever being problematic."


    • How Ellen DeGeneres could win back her audience: Celebrities coming forward in defense of Ellen over the past week seemed like crisis management tactic -- and, in Kevin Hart's case, paying it forward after she defended him over his LGBTQ Oscar-hosting crisis in January 2019. "What both parties surely see as friendship is difficult to distinguish from mutual P.R.-crisis management, a way of closing ranks against the anonymous masses," says Michael Schulman. "Super not relatable. Misguided comity is one thing. Presiding over a toxic workplace is another. If DeGeneres wants to win back the trust of her audience—and her staff—she’ll need to earn it from the people who don’t have publicists and verified Instagram accounts, first among them the employees who took the risk of speaking out. It would be a shame if the accusations overshadowed DeGeneres’s consequential career, which really did change the world for the better. The bigger shame would be if the accusations are justified."
    • From Tig Notaro to Eric Andre: Here are five stars who should replace Ellen

    TOPICS: Ellen DeGeneres, NBC, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Dakota Johnson, Daytime TV