So distant does the comforting scrum of office life feel right now, we should really thank Ellen DeGeneres for having indirectly re-injected the words “toxic workplace environment” into the conversation. Because one has gotten a little wistful even for that. Remember that faraway time when your boss could eviscerate you in front of all your colleagues for something he’d forgotten to do? Now we can only long for such meaningful human interaction.
Last week’s dismissal of three high-ranking producers of The Ellen DeGeneres Show was probably inevitable, following charges of sexual misconduct leveled by 36 former employees. (The allegations, which included inappropriate touching and a request for oral sex, were denied by two of the accused; the third hasn’t commented.) But the steady drip of bad publicity DeGeneres has been getting all spring and summer actually started earlier. In 2016, the comedian Kathy Griffin alluded in her memoir to an unnamed talk-show host (she later confirmed it was DeGeneres) with “a mean streak that all of Hollywood knows about,” and last year DeGeneres caught flak for her evident chumminess with George W. Bush at a Cowboys-Packers game.