Ellen DeGeneres on Thursday addressed her sudden — if not entirely unexpected — decision to end her eponymous talk show after its upcoming 19th season, dismissing reports that the announcement was the result of fallout over last year’s bombshell accusations of workplace misconduct.
“If it was why I was quitting, I would have not come back this year,” she said on “Today.” “I really did think about not coming back, because it was devastating. I am a kind person. I am a person who likes to make people happy.”
However, Nielsen data from March found “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” had lost more than 1 million viewers since the start of its 18th season, suggesting the blow to the host’s reputation would be permanent.
DeGeneres claimed she “had no idea” about the alleged problems many current and former employees said they faced until reading about them in the media.
“I really didn’t understand it,” she said. “I still don’t understand it. It was too orchestrated, it was too coordinated.” She added that “every guest that comes on the show” had offered only positive feedback.
“I don’t know how I could have known when there’s 255 employees here, and there are a lot of different buildings,” DeGeneres said. “It’s my name on the show, so clearly it affects me, and I have to be the one to stand up and say this can’t be tolerated. But I do wish somebody would have come to me and said, ’Hey, something’s going on that you should know about.’”
DeGeneres had not publicly addressed allegations that she fostered a hostile work environment since the Season 18 premiere of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”
The tone of her remarks on “Today” were a marked departure from her opening monologue on Wednesday’s episode, when she took a more lighthearted approach to announcing the show’s 2022 conclusion.
“My instinct told me it’s time,” she told viewers. “As a comedian, I’ve always understood the importance of … timing. In all seriousness, I truly have felt like next season was the right time to end this amazing chapter.”
Watch the full “Today” interview with Ellen DeGeneres below.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.