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.

Still, it’s the pandemic season that’s really been unkind to her. In an April broadcast, DeGeneres—who according to Forbes is the 12th-highest-paid entertainer in the world—observed that self-quarantine, in her mansion, was “like being in jail” and was duly slammed for tone-deafness (even though the blunder set up a joke: “It’s mostly because I’ve been wearing the same clothes for 10 days and everyone in here is gay”). And then allegations, in BuzzFeed and elsewhere, of unappetizing behavior began to appear at a rapid pace: DeGeneres tried to coerce Mariah Carey to discuss a possible pregnancy she was reluctant to address on live TV; her staff “walked on eggshells”; she treated her writers “like shit”; she giggled when producers publicly lacerated crew members; she was racist because she made fun of Sofía Vergara’s accent (Vergara later tweeted that “I was never a victim … I was always in on the joke”); employees were fired after having taken medical leave or bereavement days; guests were warned by staff not to come across as funnier or smarter than the host—or to make eye contact with her; one guest, a Dutch transgender beauty vlogger known as NikkieTutorials, complained that she’d been denied the use of a bathroom because it had been earmarked for the Jonas Brothers. In short, a BuzzFeed investigation found that the determinedly upbeat variety show was more a hostile pit of “toxicity” and “racism, fear and intimidation” than the “place of happiness” DeGeneres later insisted, in an e-mail to staff, that she’d intended it to be.

Ellen DeGeneres receives a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, 2012.

Adding insult to, well, insult, a July burglary (jewelry, watches) at the Montecito home of DeGeneres and her wife, Portia de Rossi, was deemed “an inside job,” according to The Sun. Ouch. All that remained was for a man to claim that some five decades ago, when he was 11, a 20-year-old DeGeneres, then working at his mother’s office in New Orleans, called him “stupid” and “fat.” And one did. This, clearly, was the summer of their discontent—all of them.

Or not quite all. Kevin Hart, Jay Leno, Katy Perry, Alec Baldwin, and Diane Keaton were among those who voiced support for the beleaguered star. Warner Bros. issued the requisite statement, which worked its way from “disappointed” and “deficiencies” to “appropriate measures,” “committed,” and “confident.” DeGeneres, ambushed by the Daily Mail, revealed that “I will be talking to my fans,” and at a virtual meeting with her staff reportedly offered an emotional apology, though as psychodrama it probably couldn’t hope to match the over-the-top 2007 video mea culpa that followed her re-homing of Iggy, a rescue dog (long story).

For now, we’re all left to grapple with that most bitter of reckonings: the soul-crushing possibility that one’s public persona and private behavior might, just might, not be one and the same.

George Kalogerakis is a Writer at Large for Air Mail