Netflix Gives Ellen Degeneres Comedy Special To Defend Controversies

By Shanna Mathews-Mendez | Published

Ellen DeGeneres

Actress and comedian Ellen Degeneres has announced she will have a final comedy special on Netflix, which will be released later this year. Of course, this news comes as a surprise and delight to some and as an irritant to others. After all, Ellen is coming back into the limelight after yet another controversy has marked a career not unfamiliar with negativity. 

The Sitcom

Most fans first became aware of the comedienne in her show, Ellen, which ran from 1994 to 1998. She played a funny, classic girl next door looking for Mr. Right while hanging with her close girlfriends.

The Ellen Degeneres we knew then was a long way from a Netflix special. She appeared in lighthearted comedies like Mr. Wrong and Edtv, and in 1997, amid a bustling career, she came out to the world as gay. Then, her character in Ellen did the same thing. 

It was a huge moment for Ellen Degeneres at the time, and if Netflix were around then, she surely would have had her own special about it.

Despite the success of shows like Will and Grace, homosexuality was only barely accepted in the 1990s and early 2000s. Ellen says she was effectively kicked out of show biz after her announcement. 

Talk Show Success

ellen degeneres

But her absence did not last long. She had a short stint with another situational comedy, The Ellen Show, and then she got her own talk show, The Ellen Degeneres Show, which ran from 2003 to 2022. It is this side of Ellen Degeneres, the side her employees saw behind the scenes, that will likely be the primary focal point of her Netflix special. 

Out Of Touch

the ellen show

You see, despite huge successes on her show, not to mention the iconic role of Dory she voiced in Disney Pixar’s Finding Nemo and Finding Dory, some would argue Ellen found herself almost entirely out of touch with real, everyday people. Indeed, the people who worked to keep her show afloat allegedly experienced a toxic workplace for many years.

The actress has said she will certainly be addressing those concerns in the Ellen Degeneres Netflix comedy special. 

The walls around this side of Ellen seemed to fall down amid the COVID pandemic. First, she took part in an extremely out-of-touch commercial with other elite celebrities, where the stars sat in their mansions, seemingly bored, and urged the rest of us to “stay at home.”

As if a struggling waitress sharing a one bedroom apartment with two other women had the same luxuries to bask in while staying at home that Ellen and her cohort had. 


An Ellen Degeneres Netflix special will have to reveal Ellen’s take on these issues. Then, we started hearing news of her employees feeling slighted and mistreated during the pandemic. They reported not being paid in full, poor communication, and a general sense of disdain coming from executives.

It was at that point, around 2020, that reports of racism and discrimination started emerging. Ellen made a public statement taking full responsibility for the toxic environment at her show, and three executives were fired. 

Still, a Buzzfeed news report reveals case after case of employees being fired, having to walk off the job, and being summarily replaced for taking leave to go to funerals, taking sick leave while feeling suicidal, and more.

What’s worse, when these employees brought their concerns to top executives, they were ignored and reprimanded. Can an Ellen Degeneres Netflix special, presumably lasting an hour, cover all that? 

Celebrities Back The Reports

Maybe. Maybe not. Many celebrities like Dakota Johnson have surfaced as Ellen’s talk show came to an end in 2022 to say that Ellen is not a nice person. Others have risen to her defense. It will be nice to hear from her in her own words, but in the end, I suppose we will all have to decide for ourselves if the celebrity truly abides by her mantra to “be kind.” 

Sources: Buzzfeed