After a year rife with allegations of toxic and abusive workplace culture, Ellen DeGeneres is ending 2020 in more or less the same place she started: as a distinguished winner at the People’s Choice Awards. She appeared in-person at the awards on Sunday night to accept the award for best daytime talk show — an honor she’s won in some form for each of the past 10 years. During her acceptance speech, DeGeneres accepted the award on behalf of her staff.
“I’m accepting on behalf of my amazing crew, my amazing staff who make the show possible,” DeGeneres said. “They show up every single day, they give 100 percent of themselves, 100 percent of the time...that's 250 people times 170 shows a year times 18 years, and if you carry the two and divide it by 11 — my point is I love them all.”
DeGeneres also addressed fans for sticking by her side, implying she’d weathered personal hardship in the face of troubling allegations. “I know this award comes from the people, I say thank you to the people. For all of my fans for supporting me, for sticking by me, I cannot tell you how grateful I am and what this means to me. It's more than I can possibly tell you, especially right now,” DeGeneres said.
Reports emerged this summer detailing rampant intimidation, bullying, racism, and sexual harassment from several top staffers on The Ellen Show. Although none of these allegations directly implicated DeGeneres, numerous staffers indicated to BuzzFeed that she was aware of the misdeeds but instead chose to look the other way. Upon returning to her show in September, DeGeneres addressed these allegations and subsequent investigation during her in-studio monologue. “I learned that things happened here that never should have happened. I take that very seriously, and I want to say I am so sorry to the people who were affected,” DeGeneres said.
She also addressed persistent rumors that she isn’t the kind, cuddly figure portrayed on daytime television:
“Being known as the 'Be Kind Lady' is a tricky position to be in," she said. "The truth is I am that person 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."
For all the sustained grumblings about cancel culture being this pernicious threat to wealthy entertainers, DeGeneres seems to be going about business as usual without a hitch. As long as the People’s Choice Awards — and well, the people — have her back, she’ll be set for life.