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Ellen DeGeneres 'ran household like military-style boot camp'

Ellen DeGeneres ran her household like a military-style boot camp, barking orders, tormenting employees over tiny errors and ‘taking pleasure’ in firing people, a former staffer has told DailyMail.com.

Life behind the scenes at the comedian’s California mansion was every bit as traumatic as the alleged ‘toxic culture’ on her show, our insider claims in an exclusive interview.

Workers were hit with an itemized daily list of trifling gripes from serving food in the wrong bowl, leaving the salt shaker in the wrong place or failing to ensure DeGeneres’ latte was frothed the way she liked it.

Nitpicking DeGeneres would even ‘lay traps’ before she left for work, strategically leaning matchsticks behind cupboard doors and cushions to test if cleaners were dusting every square inch of her sprawling residence.

Employees rarely lasted more than a few months and on one occasion, a household manager was fired just two hours into the job, according to the source.

And repairmen, security guards and other contractors were reluctant to come over to the house because DeGeneres would slate their work – despite her famous ‘be kind to one another’ catchphrase – it’s alleged.

'OCD' Ellen DeGeneres ran her household like a military-style boot camp, barking orders, tormenting employees over tiny errors and 'taking pleasure' in firing people, a former staffer has told DailyMail.com. Pictured: Ellen out to lunch in Santa Barbara on August 22

‘OCD’ Ellen DeGeneres ran her household like a military-style boot camp, barking orders, tormenting employees over tiny errors and ‘taking pleasure’ in firing people, a former staffer has told DailyMail.com. Pictured: Ellen out to lunch in Santa Barbara on August 22

Nitpicking DeGeneres would even 'lay traps' before she left for work, strategically leaning matchsticks behind cupboard doors and cushions to test if cleaners were dusting every square inch of her sprawling residence. Pictured: One of Ellen's homes, located in Montecito

Nitpicking DeGeneres would even ‘lay traps’ before she left for work, strategically leaning matchsticks behind cupboard doors and cushions to test if cleaners were dusting every square inch of her sprawling residence. Pictured: One of Ellen’s homes, located in Montecito 

‘My belief is that someone’s real personality comes out at home,’ the former employee told DailyMail.com. 

‘So after everything that has been said about her at work, you can imagine how terrible Ellen is going to be at home when her guard is down.

‘Sometimes she would yell at us but it was more about the incredibly condescending tone she would use. She treated you like you were nothing.

‘She was going to torture you and you were just going to sit there and listen to it because you were being paid.

‘Ellen was the worst person that I’ve ever met in my life. She takes pleasure in firing people.’

The daytime TV icon, 62, has faced a barrage of criticism from dozens of show staffers in recent months who claim that racism, bullying and sexual harassment were rife on set.

DeGeneres apologized but insisted she was unaware of the abuse because she hadn’t been ‘on top of everything’ at her multi-Emmy award winning show.

Parent company WarnerMedia launched an investigation and axed three producers, Ed Glavin, Kevin Leman and Jonathan Norman, ahead of the show’s 18th season, starting September 9.

However, critics have continued to come forward to claim that DeGeneres was personally mean to them, including a former bodyguard who says she refused to speak to him and a waitress who told DailyMail.com she was nearly suspended from her job after DeGeneres complained about her chipped nail polish.

A Twitter thread branding her one of the ‘meanest people alive’ has meanwhile prompted nearly 3,000 responses.

The household worker speaking out to DailyMail.com spent several months working at one of the numerous lavish Los Angeles-area homes DeGeneres has shared with wife Portia de Rossi in the past decade.

The daytime TV icon, 62, has faced a barrage of criticism from dozens of show staffers in recent months who claim that racism, bullying and sexual harassment were rife on set. DeGeneres apologized but insisted she was unaware of the abuse because she hadn't been 'on top of everything' at her multi-Emmy award winning show

The daytime TV icon, 62, has faced a barrage of criticism from dozens of show staffers in recent months who claim that racism, bullying and sexual harassment were rife on set. DeGeneres apologized but insisted she was unaware of the abuse because she hadn’t been ‘on top of everything’ at her multi-Emmy award winning show

The source says the harsh reality of the DeGeneres 'regime' soon became clear, with staff confronted each morning with a laundry list of passive aggressive notes listing what the entertainer didn't like about the previous day

The source says the harsh reality of the DeGeneres ‘regime’ soon became clear, with staff confronted each morning with a laundry list of passive aggressive notes listing what the entertainer didn’t like about the previous day

It was a lucrative position – her top assistants are thought to earn anything up to $175,000 per year – however it came with a string of dire warnings.

‘Ellen was a hero of mine. I thought she was an amazing person. But before I took the position, people were warning me not to take it,’ the source alleged.

‘I was told that she had a very high turnover and that I should stay under the radar as much as possible, avoid as much direct contact with Ellen as possible. Working there was described as being more like a boot camp.

‘When I interviewed with Ellen and Portia I felt much better about the job. They were both charming, funny and perfectly lovely. I was a little bit nervous but it was well paid.’

 She wanted the coffee maker deep cleaned every day after complaining that there was too much or too little froth on her latte.

The source says the harsh reality of the DeGeneres ‘regime’ soon became clear, with staff confronted each morning with a laundry list of passive aggressive notes listing what the entertainer didn’t like about the previous day.

‘Violations’ included a chef using a guest toilet and a maid forgetting to put a piece of trash in the recycling.

‘Ellen is terribly obsessive compulsive and if anything is out of order in her environment she gets upset,’ said the insider, who asked to remain anonymous over concerns DeGeneres could retaliate legally.

‘There might be 20 to 30 things every day. We are talking about the finest, finest details here – a salt shaker out of place or a light switch left on.

‘She wanted the coffee maker deep cleaned every day after complaining that there was too much or too little froth on her latte.

‘The staff was getting better and better and making fewer mistakes but she couldn’t help herself so she would lay traps.

‘She would actually leave matchsticks around the house, behind cupboard doors, cushions or books to see if the staff was cleaning and moving things.

‘One day the staff found around eight of them, all in weird places. The rest of the day became a race to find them all before she got home and fired someone.’

The household worker speaking out to DailyMail.com spent several months working at one of the numerous lavish Los Angeles-area homes DeGeneres has shared with wife Portia de Rossi (pictured together in January) in the past decade

The household worker speaking out to DailyMail.com spent several months working at one of the numerous lavish Los Angeles-area homes DeGeneres has shared with wife Portia de Rossi (pictured together in January) in the past decade








The ex-worker says household aides learned of DeGeneres being similarly rude to other members of her entourage, most notably her security detail, as well as outside contractors who came on the property.

‘When someone came to the house, for example to repair an appliance, she wouldn’t hold back. It could be something as simple as the compressor on the refrigerator making too much noise,’ the source said.

‘One of the top security firms in Hollywood terminated their contract with her. Some of criticisms I heard were that she didn’t like the way they walked.

‘I’m not even kidding, she literally didn’t like the way they walked. Also how they opened and closed doors.

‘She had multiple dogs and cats and she didn’t like the way they would walk through and not close them quickly enough.

‘The dogs loved Portia and would jump up when she came home. The animals would barely get up when Ellen walked in.

 She would actually leave matchsticks around the house, behind cupboard doors, cushions or books to see if the staff was cleaning and moving things.

‘I have a friend who was on The Ellen DeGeneres show one day who told me a story about how Ellen pointed out a production assistant and said ”get rid of her, I don’t like the way she looks at me”.

‘I heard that story from two separate sources. It didn’t surprise me in the slightest.’

The former employee was fired after a couple of months but was, by then, one of the longer serving staffers.

‘There were numerous people that she fired, rehired, then fired a second time. I heard about a manager who started on a particularly bad day and was fired in the first two hours,’ the source told DailyMail.com.

‘I would never cry in front of them but I was always stressed out and on the verge of tears. I remember going home sometimes thinking I just hated my life.

‘You stick it out because quitting looks bad on your resume but everyone in Hollywood knows what’s going on there.

‘I missed the pay check afterwards but felt a sense of relief that I never had to go back there.’

Last week Mariah Carey became the latest figure to pile in on DeGeneres when she recounted how the host revealed her pregnancy live on air in 2008 after first challenging her to drink champagne.

After outlets including DailyMail.com, Buzzfeed and Variety ran stories alleging there was a 'toxic' culture on set, she sent a memo to her staff, apologizing for the alleged misconduct on her watch but accusing colleagues of 'misrepresenting who I am'

After outlets including DailyMail.com, Buzzfeed and Variety ran stories alleging there was a ‘toxic’ culture on set, she sent a memo to her staff, apologizing for the alleged misconduct on her watch but accusing colleagues of ‘misrepresenting who I am’

Last week Mariah Carey became the latest figure to pile in on DeGeneres when she recounted how the host revealed her pregnancy live on air in 2008 after first challenging her to drink champagne (pictured)

Last week Mariah Carey became the latest figure to pile in on DeGeneres when she recounted how the host revealed her pregnancy live on air in 2008 after first challenging her to drink champagne (pictured)

‘I was extremely uncomfortable with that moment is all I can say,’ Carey, 50, told Vulture. The Without You singer had a miscarriage shortly after the toe-curling TV interview.

A number of DeGeneres’ A-list pals have come out in support of her during her fall from grace, however, including Katy Perry, Kevin Hart and Ashton Kutcher who tweeted: ‘She & her team have only treated me & my team w/ respect & kindness. She never pandered to celebrity which I always saw as a refreshing honesty.’

Behind the scenes problems at The Ellen DeGeneres show began when crew members were hit with a 60 percent pay reduction during the coronavirus pandemic.

After outlets including DailyMail.com, Buzzfeed and Variety ran stories alleging there was a ‘toxic’ culture on set, she sent a memo to her staff, apologizing for the alleged misconduct on her watch but accusing colleagues of ‘misrepresenting who I am’.

‘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,’ Ellen wrote.

‘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.’

A internal probe by Warner Media is ongoing but in the meantime bosses have moved to placate staff with a string of perks including a paid day off on their birthdays.

Responding to a comment request by DailyMail.com, sources close to Ellen said this is a completely fabricated story – she does not lay traps or issue lists for staff; and many of her employees have been with her for a long time.

DeGeneres launched her chat show in 2003, five years after her eponymous sitcom went off the air after five seasons.

She married actress Portia de Rossi in 2008 and in addition to her successful daytime chat show on NBC, she has hosted the Academy Awards, the Emmys and the Grammy Awards.








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