Portia hits back at Ellen’s haters
Portia de Rossi has broken her silence over claims her wife Ellen DeGeneres is "mean" and not as "kind" as her public image would have us believe.
"I stand by Ellen," the Australian-born de Rossi posted to Instagram.
The actress, who originally hails from Geelong, added the hashtags "I stand with Ellen DeGeneres", "I Stand by Ellen" and "I Stand by Ellen DeGeneres".
"To all our fans … we see you. Thank you for your support," de Rossi, captioned the post.
She also added the hashtag #stopbotattacks, which appeared to imply that the allegations came from "bots" and were unfounded.
De Rossi, who has reportedly given up acting to focus on art, clearly used multiple hashtags in her post, possibly in an attempt to garner online support and to start a social media campaign in support of her beleaguered wife.
This is the first time de Rossi has spoken publicly since DeGeneres' show became the subject of an internal investigation at Warner Bros. in the US amid claims of a "toxic" work culture and "bullying".
Since May, Hollywood insiders have been speaking out on DeGeneres' alleged rude behaviour to her staff and others.
DeGeneres, whose talk show has run for 17 seasons, has strongly denied the allegations.
DeGeneres and de Rossi first met in 2000, with de Rossi telling Oprah Winfrey it was a "love at first sight situation", but she said she kept her feelings secret as she was "deeply closeted" at the time and "not living as an openly gay person".
The couple reconnected in 2004 while DeGeneres was in a relationship with photographer Alexandra Hedison, who is now married to Jodie Foster.
"I ran into Ellen at a photo shoot [in 2004] and she took my breath away," de Rossi told the Advocate in 2005.
"That had never happened to me in my life, where I saw somebody and [experienced] all of those things you hear about in songs and read about in poetry. My knees were weak. It was amazing."
The couple married in 2008 at their home in Los Angeles in front of just 19 guests.
ELLEN'S WORLD OF PAIN
The one-time darling of US daytime TV, DeGeneres, has suddenly found her famous show at the centre of allegations of "mean behaviour" and bullying.
It comes amid reports the comedian's show is facing the axe amid sliding ratings.
Other rumours have emerged that a replacement host is already being lined.
Here's how it unfolded.
THAT DAKOTA JOHNSON INTERVIEW
In late 2019, actress Dakota Johnson appeared on Ellen's show, where the hostess asked why Johnson hadn't invited her to a birthday party.
A smiling Johnson said: "But I did invite you and you didn't come. Ask everybody."
DeGeneres denied any memory of being invited.
It later turned out she was at a football game sitting beside former President George W. Bush. Influential entertainment programs in the US replayed the interview over and over and made sure viewers knew it was an awkward moment for DeGeneres.
THE FALL OUT
Devoted fans of liberal darling DeGeneres - who is married to Australian Portia De Rossi - were outraged at pictures and video of her sitting beside Bush at the football game.
Many critics pointed at his war record with Iraq, while others highlighted his support for a constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage.
"Just because I don't agree with someone on everything doesn't mean I'm not going to be friends with them," she opined.
"I mean be kind to everyone."
But this didn't wash with her fellow Hollywood liberals like actor Mark Ruffalo.
"Sorry, until George W. Bush is brought to justice for the crimes of the Iraq War … we can't even begin to talk about kindness."
Actor John Cusack accused DeGeneres of "normalising mass murderers" through association with Mr Bush.
'IT'S LIKE BEING IN JAIL'
Next came Degeneres's assertion that being in COVID lockdown was "like being in jail".
She said this on a video that showed her sitting with her feet up with a lush garden in the background.
"It's mostly because I've been wearing the same clothes for 10 days and everyone is gay." She then laughed and clapped her hands.
In the age of outrage, her comments went down poorly with the keyboard warriors.
"Hey, Ellen, go volunteer at a grocery store or food bank. Get on the front lines if being sequestered in your mansion is just too difficult. Unbelievable," a Twitter warrior cried.
In May, a former bodyguard to DeGeneres, Tom Majercak, said the TV star had a very different off-screen persona when he was assigned to protect her and her family - including Aussie wife Portia De Rossi - during the Oscars in 2014.
"I'm holding their hands and walking them through individuals and large groups of people. Ellen is the one person that I've been assigned to - and I've been assigned to quite a few celebrities - that has never taken the time to say hi to me.
"It started going negatively when she (De Rossi) introduced me to Ellen and Ellen pretty much just gave me a side glance out of her eye and didn't even say 'hello,' or 'thank you for protecting my mother, my wife and me'.
"It was very cold and it was very sly and it was actually kind of demeaning in the way that she treats people other than those who are in her circle.
"When you see her on TV, people fall in love with her but it is a false facade and bravado. You start hearing these stories and I was like, 'Man, there's got to be more to this.' She's not the person she portrays to be that she's playing off of society. That's my opinion."
Soon after, a Twitter post asking people to share their unpleasant experiences with DeGeneres went viral.
Allegations of workplace unhappiness emerged and the star's smiley, happy profile began to take serious hits.
A shocking Twitter thread in March, which was the first legitimate insight into claims against Ellen, cast doubt on her reputation.
Writer and comedian Kevin T. Porter tweeted: "Right now we all need a little kindness. You know, like Ellen DeGeneres always talks about!
"She's also notoriously one of the meanest people alive. Respond to this with the most insane stories you've heard about Ellen being mean & I'll match every one w/ $2 to @LAFoodBank."
There were more than 1000 replies to Porter's tweet, with people detailing their not-so-nice experiences with DeGeneres.
TV writer Benjamin Siemon replied to Porter's tweet with: "She has a 'sensitive nose' so everyone must chew gum from a bowl outside her office before talking to her and if she thinks you smell that day you have to go home and shower."
Earlier this month, Ellen employees revealed bombshell accusations they suffered from "racism, fear and intimidation" on set.
Current and 10 former crew members from the daytime series spoke to BuzzFeed News about the "toxic work environment" but remained anonymous due to fear of retribution.
The outlet said some staff claimed to have been fired because they took medical leave or bereavement days to attend family funerals.
An internal investigation was launched earlier this week by the show's parent company WarnerMedia after the employees came forward.
Once the allegations were made, DeGeneres issued an apology letter to her staff.
She wrote: "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.
"Obviously, something changed, and I am disappointed to learn that this has not been the case. And for that, I am sorry."
Executive producers Ed Glavin, Mary Connelly, and Andy Lassner released a joint statement to the outlet, claiming they take the stories "very seriously" and admitted they need to "do better."
AND THE HITS KEEP COMING
Former 80s star Lea Thompson agreed this week it is "common knowledge" that Ellen DeGeneres treats people "horribly."
The actress, 59, backed up fellow actor Brad Garrett's claims that he "know[s] more than one who were treated horribly by [Ellen]."
Tagging Degeneres in his tweet, Garrett wrote: "Sorry but it comes from the top @TheEllenShow Know more than one who were treated horribly by her. Common knowledge."
Lea Thompson lent her support to Brad by commenting on an article detailing the tweets: "True story. It is."
His tweet came after a Variety article that included the apology Ellen sent to her staff - which seemed to imply her underlings were to blame.
The entertainment rumour mill is in overdrive on this topic.
One line of thought says she will tough it out and try to rebuild her shattered image.
Other rumours have emerged that a replacement host is already being lined up, with British comedian James Corden mentioned as one possibility.
In July DeGeneres, 62, and her long-running hit had its season-low rating of 1.5 for two straight weeks.
The series came behind Dr. Phil and Live with Kelly and Ryan for the daytime syndication ratings, according to NextTV.
Before the allegations were made this year, Ellen's ratings were consistently around 2.0 for her daytime slot, with previous seasons garnering an average of 4.5 million viewers.
As the Finding Dory star's ratings continue to drop, her NBC counterpart, The Kelly Clarkson Show, has seen a spike in numbers.
Reports have recently surfaced that because the comedian's show is sliding in ratings, her show is being cancelled. However there is no confirmation that this is true.
One thing is for sure: with an estimated fortune of more than $A500 million, DeGeneres could afford to retire.
Originally published as Portia hits back at Ellen's haters