For years, there have been rumors floating around that Ellen DeGeneres, the undisputed queen of daytime television, isn't as cheery and good-natured as she might seem on TV.
Several stories have popped up throughout the years, some about her feuds with other comedians, others about the horrible way she supposedly treats her staff.
One comedian decided to put those rumors to the test. Kevin T. Porter posted that for every story someone shared with him on Twitter about Ellen being mean, he would donate $2 to the LA Food Bank, which is working hard right now to provide meals for those in need during the pandemic.
Sure, it's an offbeat way to promote "kindness," but it's also kind of brilliant. And people did not hesitate to participate at all. Of course, Kevin and I have no idea if these stories are actually true, but so many unrelated stories are so consistent with each other that it doesn't seem like they're fake.
It should be noted that Kevin got thousands of responses to this. Some were firsthand stories, others were heard second or thirdhand. But they all had something in common; Ellen was super mean in all of them!
This is straight-up cruel. A horrible way to treat your employee, someone who'd worked for you for five years! This is how jobs work. People move on sometimes. If this is true, Ellen clearly wanted to punish this woman for trying to leave her show.
So many of the stories centered around Ellen mistreating her employees. I read through at least a dozen that described how she would not make eye contact or talk to you if you worked for the show but weren't high up in the ranks.
She either ignores or flips out on people who dare to say hello to her. It seems like she has a real superiority complex going on.
According to TV writer Nick Wiger, she is "notorious for performatively only giving gifts to staffers she likes." He also shared the terrifying story of a friend who was a PA on the show and then got another job and had to leave.
It sounds like she has created a terribly toxic work environment, and honestly, if you watch her show, that comes across. All the pranks she plays are cruel! She seems to get off on making other people uncomfortable.
And that seems to extend to her life outside work, as well. Many people shared stories in which they either witnessed her be rude to service workers or they were that worker themselves.
Imagine being as famous as Ellen DeGeneres and using that power to call a restaurant to tell on one of the servers for having chipped nail polish. There are so many other, better, less cruel things you could do with your time.
Another Twitter user had a similar story: "My friend waited on her and she threw a plate of salmon in his face because it wasn't what she ordered." Yikes. And it's not just restaurants. Ellen was apparently mean to the staff at her gym as well.
It's safe to say Kevin's efforts worked. Thousands of people knew stories about Ellen acting quite differently from the personality she purports to have.
One Twitter user wrote, "Was prepared to come here to defend Ellen's honor, read a bunch of legitimate sounding encounters from seemingly credibly sources, rethinking my entire existence now." Sounds about right.
What may have started out as sort of a joke turned into a viral donation effort and a massive thread challenging prevailing notions surrounding one of the world's most famous personalities. Who would have thought?
Kevin definitely didn't expect his tweet to garner the attention that it did. In a follow-up tweet, he wrote, "Well this got out of hand! It's now hard to tell which stories are real or not, so I've rounded up to 300 and donated $600!" Remember, the whole goal of this smear effort as to raise money to help people in need. I'd say Kevin more than accomplished that goal.