Ellen DeGeneres shared a video on Twitter in which she was dressed in a superhero nurse costume. She captioned the post: "My costume this year is inspired by the real superheroes of 2020."
Her outfit was clearly celebrating the work of the doctors, nurses, and other essential workers during the coronavirus pandemic, but people drew focus to the reports of poor treatment of the staff and collaborators on the DeGeneres show.
"Who are the real superheroes? People who treat their staff well?" one person asked.
Others compared DeGeneres to Nurse Ratched, the evil character whose first appearance was in the 1975 film One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and is now the main character in the Netflix drama series Ratched.
Another Halloween-themed tweet by DeGeneres also drew numerous negative comments.
DeGeneres has been labeled as one of the "biggest villains of 2020" following multiple reports about the treatment of her staff.
In April, reports stated that the show’s crew was "furious" because of the lack of communication about their pay during the coronavirus shutdown.
Variety reported that two anonymous sources stated that the show's core stage crew — which has more than 30 employees — were not informed about the status of their working hours or pay, and the show’s producers had not bothered to check in on their mental and physical health.
In July, an internal investigation into the show's workplace culture was launched by WarnerMedia, the show's parent company. Variety stated that an "employee relations group and a third party firm" would be in charge of the investigation, and would interview current and former employees about their experiences on the set.
In the same month, a number of ex-employees of the show stated that sexual harassment and misconduct had ran rampant during their employment there, BuzzFeed News reported.
In late July, DeGeneres addressed the "issues" at her show by sending out a letter to the staff.
The Hollywood Reporter received a copy of the letter, in which DeGeneres took responsibility for the issues on the set, but failed to directly address any of the allegations against her personal actions. She wrote that she was "disappointed to learn" that her staff did not feel happy or respected at work.
During the show’s premiere in September, she said in her opening speech: "I learned that things happened here that never should have happened. I take that very seriously. I want to say I am so sorry to the people who were affected. I know that I'm in a position of privilege and power. And I realized that with that comes responsibility. And I take responsibility for what happens at my show. This is 'The Ellen DeGeneres Show.'"
Sources: America Now