“You know what I’d do if I was Ellen? I would change my whole image. I’d go on the air and be a son of a bitch,” the longtime radio personality, 65, said during his Monday, August 10, SiriusXM show. “People would come on and (I would) go, ‘F–k you’ [and] just be a prick.”
He then continued, “So you think I’m a pr–k? I’m going to show you exactly. … I’m known on the air as a pr–k, but off the air, I’m known as a great guy, you know, for the most part.”
Stern and DeGeneres, 62, have been friends for years. In 2019, he remarried wife Beth Stern on the talk show and the two hosts even shared a kiss.
The former America’s Got Talent judge’s comments come nearly a month after BuzzFeed News published a report in which former employees spoke out about the culture created on set. DeGeneres, 62, apologized for any toxicity in a lengthy letter sent to staff on July 30.
“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,” the comedian wrote in the memo obtained by Us Weekly. “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.”
On August 4, former Ellen DJ Tony Okungbowa, who appeared on more than 1,600 episodes, shared his experience as well.
“While I am grateful for the opportunity it afforded me, I did experience and feel the toxicity of the environment and I stand with my former colleagues in their quest to create a healthier and more inclusive workplace as the show moves forward,” the Bob Hearts Abishola star, 52, posted via Instagram. Okungbowa deejayed on the daytime talk show from 2003 to 2006 and again from 2007 to 2013.
Some celebrities, however, have come to DeGeneres’ defense, including Katy Perry, Kevin Hart and Samantha Ronson. Her wife, Portia de Rossi, also supported the Finding Dory star, sharing a post via Instagram that read “I stand with Ellen” on August 3. In the comments, she added, “Thank you for your support. #stopbotattacks.”
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