Ellen crew posed as audience members to stop fans from getting ‘too close’ to her, says ex-employee
It is alleged that crew on the sets took off their work IDs so they could form a barrier between the host and the public when she went to visit them in the so-called 'Riff-Raff Room'
A former staffer of The Ellen DeGeneres Show has claimed employees often posed as members of the show's audience in order to stop genuine fans from getting "too close" to the famed talk show host. It is alleged that crew on the sets of the controversial talk show took off their work IDs so they could form a barrier between Ellen DeGeneres and the public when she went to visit them in the so-called "Riff-Raff Room." Speaking to The Sun, a former assistant on the show also revealed how crew members felt obligated to stand with their backs to the wall as 62-year-old Ellen passed by them in a corridor. The insider, who reportedly worked for years on set, said there was nothing "kind" about working on Ellen. According to her, staff members who enabled the "toxic environment" are still on the show.
“It was never a ‘kind’ place. Ellen’s ‘be kind’ philosophy was never mentioned to us when we were working," the insider told The Sun. "I'm speaking out because I'm worried the people who enabled that 'toxic environment' to happen have got away with it and they're still working there."
This follows a barrage of allegations from staffers on the show, who claim to have experienced "racism, fear, and intimidation." Ellen has since apologized to victims and vowed to make necessary changes. However, the source also notes how audience members -- who were mostly women -- were often judged on their looks. It is alleged that the best-looking members were seated in the front closest to the star so they got more camera time, while the "ugly" ones remained at the back.
“The audience members who don’t get a seat for whatever reason were taken to the Riff-Raff Room where they could watch the show on monitors," the insider explained. “Ellen would regularly go to say a quick ‘hi’ but what fans didn't know is staffers took off their IDs and pretended to be audience members, then got in-between Ellen and genuine audience members so she didn't have to get close to her fans."
"I never knew why that was, I can only guess it was so she kept her own space," the source continued. “The show was always overbooked to make sure every seat was filled. There can’t be any vacant seats but they have to be filled with the right people, the best-looking people. Audience hopefuls are graded on their looks. The better-looking ones at the front so they get on camera more, the uglier ones at the back. Women were treated and judged by their appearance which is wrong.”
The insider, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also recalled a dramatic episode of Ellen passing a corridor in front of them.
“I was with a colleague who had worked there longer than me," they said. "At this point, I hadn’t seen much of Ellen at all. We were walking down a corridor chatting, then ahead of us, Ellen appeared with a security guard, walking straight towards us."
“The person I was with immediately stopped talking, stopped walking, and stood with her back to the wall. I thought, ‘What the hell is going on?’ At first, I honestly thought it was a joke. But I could tell from my colleague's face it was serious," the source added. "So I followed suit. I shut up and stood with my back to the wall, too. Ellen walked past and didn’t even glance at us. We weren’t acknowledged by her in any way. I thought, ‘Ahh, so that’s how it goes around here.’"