By Laura Harding, PA Deputy Entertainment Editor
Ellen DeGeneres has said her decision to end her talk show was not the result of allegations of a toxic workplace environment.
The comedian and actress announced on Wednesday that she was stepping down from her eponymous TV show after the upcoming 19th series.
Last year she apologised to staff after an internal review by Warner Bros found “deficiencies related to the show’s day-to-day management”.
The review was launched following reports of a toxic work environment on the programme, but DeGeneres denied that is the reason she is ending the programme.
She told US breakfast show Today: “If it was why I was quitting, I would have not come back this year.
“I really did think about not coming back, because it was devastating.
“It started with attacks on me and attacking everything that I stand for and believe in and built my career around.
“I am a kind person. I am a person who likes to make people happy.”
She said she had had “no idea” there were problems behind the scenes until she read press reports, and added: “I don’t know how I could have known when there’s 225 employees here and there are a lot of different buildings, unless I actually stayed here until that last person goes home at night.
“It’s my name on the show, so clearly it affects me, and I have to be the one to stand up and say this can’t be tolerated.”
“If it was why I was quitting, I would have not come back this year. I really did think about not coming back because it was devastating.” -Ellen DeGeneres on the claims of a toxic workplace at her talk show pic.twitter.com/i3LMY3XycD
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) May 13, 2021
DeGeneres famously came out as gay in 1997 while starring in sitcom Ellen, and she compared the controversy to when that show was cancelled after she spoke publicly about her sexuality.
She said: “My therapist is like, very few people go through such huge public humiliation twice in a lifetime.
“How can I be an example of strength and perseverance and power if I give up and run away? So it really is one of the reasons I came back. I worked really hard on myself.
“And also, I have to say, if nobody else was saying it, it was really interesting because I’m a woman, and it did feel very misogynistic.”
She added that the backlash had a profound effect on her, saying: “No, I’m not bulletproof, and no, I don’t have thick skin.
“I’m extremely sensitive to the point of it’s not healthy how sensitive I am.
“When something is coming back at me that I know is not true, I guess I could take one or two of those shots, but four months in a row took a toll on me.”
“I’m proud of the kind of show we do.”
Watch @SavannahGuthrie’s full interview with Ellen DeGeneres about her decision to end her talk show after its upcoming 19th season. DeGeneres says allegations of a toxic work environment on the show are not the reason for her decision. pic.twitter.com/nVbDlAuHpv
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) May 13, 2021
Ratings have been down for all talk shows over the past year but DeGeneres’ show has seen a more steep decline.
However, she denied the show was ending as a result of a fall in ratings.
She said: “It’s more for this one because we had further to fall.
“And everybody else was at a lower place, so they didn’t have as far to fall. To be honest. I mean, that’s the truth, we were very, very successful.
“As you said, everything in television is down. It’s got nothing to do with why I’m leaving. If I was having fun, I would do this show with nobody watching. So it’s got nothing to do with that.”
The show premiered in 2003 and will end in spring 2022.
DeGeneres will discuss her decision to leave on Thursday’s show with guest Oprah Winfrey.