Angry Ellen DENIES protégée’s claim that she ‘manipulated’ him: DeGeneres insider says she went ‘above and beyond’ to help singer Greyson Chance, 25, who she discovered at age 12 – after he accused her of ‘controlling’ behavior and ‘berating’ his mom
Ellen DeGeneres has hit back at her former protégée Greyson Chance after he accused the TV host of being ‘manipulative’, ‘self-centered’, and ‘blatantly opportunistic’ – alleging that she ‘completely abandoned’ him after signing him at the tender age of 12.
Oklahoma-born Chance, 25, made the bombshell claims about his former mentor in an interview with Rolling Stone on Thursday, recalling how Ellen, 64, vowed to ‘protect’ him and ‘be there for him’ after flying him out to Los Angeles to appear on her show when he was a tween. However, he says that when his career flagged just two years later, DeGeneres ‘abandoned’ him and stopped returning his calls.
His allegations come just months after DeGeneres’ long-running talk show ended amid scandal and controversy over claims she created a ‘toxic’ workplace.
However, sources close to the famous TV host has now fired back at Chance’s allegations, insisting that DeGeneres went above and beyond in order to support him and his career – and accusing the singer of making opportunistic claims in order to promote his new album.
The sources noted that Chance was discovered by the show via YouTube in 2010, and appeared on The Ellen Show more than a dozen times, including after the timeframe in which he was dropped by his record label Interscope.
Addressing the singer’s accusations about DeGeneres’ cold treatment of him, the insiders told DailyMail.com that this was not the experience the Ellen team had with Chance, insisting that she had nothing to do with the downturn in his career, noting that sometimes, things just don’t take off.
The insiders added that Chance did not make any complaints during that time and continued to appear on the show to launch his new projects.
Chance is currently launching an album, and has taken this time to go after Ellen with opportunistic claims, the sources alleged.
Bombshell: Ellen DeGeneres, 64, has been slammed by her former protégée, Greyson Chance (right in 2020) as ‘manipulative,’ ‘self-centered’ and ‘blatantly opportunistic’
Chance made his first appearance on The Ellen Show in May 2010, when he was just 12 years old (seen), after the TV host spotted a viral video of him singing Lady Gaga’s hit Paparazzi
Chance (seen on The Ellen Show in 2019) said that DeGeneres vowed she was ‘going to protect’ him and be there for him, saying, ‘We’re going to do this together’
In his interview, Chance said he was overwhelmed when DeGeneres sought to feature him on her program in May 2010, after seeing a viral video of him singing Lady Gaga’s hit Paparazzi.
‘We just couldn’t believe what was happening,’ Chance said. ‘We were so unsure of what we were getting into, and the person that helped cure all of that skepticism and chaotic energy was Ellen.’
According to Chance, DeGeneres told his mother, Lisa (seen on The Ellen Show in 2010), that she would ‘never have to work again a day in her life’ because she was going to make her son a star
Chance said that DeGeneres vowed she was ‘going to protect’ him and be there for him, saying, ‘We’re going to do this together.’ He added that Ellen ‘presented herself as a guardian and mentor’, and told his mother, Lisa, that she would ‘never have to work again a day in her life’.
During his appearance on The Ellen Show in May 2010, Chance performed Paparazzi for the host and her audience, before the TV host gifted him with $10,000 and a new grand piano.
DeGeneres then created a record label called eleveneleven in conjunction with Interscope Geffen A&M Records, inking Chance and setting him up with managers who had previously worked with the likes of Lady Gaga and Madonna, as well as bookers and a publicist.
Quickly, Chance’s career took off; he released a mini EP in October of that year and set off on a tour across the US, Canada, London, and Paris – during which time he says DeGeneres became increasingly ‘invested’ in his career, offering him consistent support via the phone and in-person.
However, as her ‘investment’ in his career grew, Chance claims the TV host ‘became domineering and way too controlling’, describing her as a ‘hidden eye’ that loomed over his career.
‘My whole week, my whole month, my whole year could change [with] one text message from her,’ he said. ‘That was horrible.’
He claimed that DeGeneres would make demands about his career – stating that she once made him re-record a pre-taped performance for a TV appearance because she wasn’t happy with what he and his team had done.
And – according to Chance – he wasn’t the only one who bore the brunt of DeGeneres’ ‘controlling’ behavior, with the singer highlighting one incident in 2011, when the TV host slammed his mother for failing to make him watch Justin Bieber’s documentary Never Say Never.
Chance performed Lady Gaga’s Paparazzi on The Ellen Show during his first appearance in 2010, when the TV host gifted him with $10,000 and a new grand piano
The singer made multiple appearances on The Ellen Show over the years – however behind the scenes, he says that DeGeneres was becoming increasingly ‘controlling’ over him
Chance (seen in 2021) said DeGeneres – who left the air two years after a toxic workplace scandal – exhibited nasty behavior toward him and others: ‘She was just degrading to people’
DeGeneres had secured Chance an advance copy of the movie, which saw cameras going behind the scenes during a then-teenage Justin’s global tour, and instructed him to watch it immediately – despite the fact that he was on tour at the time – so that he could model his own career on the chart-topper’s.
Chance said that when he didn’t watch the documentary right away because he was ‘exhausted’ from his performances, DeGeneres phoned his mother Lisa to ‘berate’ her, asking, ‘What type of mother are you?’
He added that DeGeneres then told him, ‘Disappointed isn’t even remotely what I’m feeling right now,’ in regards to the documentary issue. It was then that he says he realized he was nothing more than a ‘pawn’ in the talk show host’s ‘game’.
His mother Lisa also said that the TV host would ‘go through’ her son’s clothes and try and ‘control’ what he wore – including banning him from sporting leather because she was a committed vegan during the early years of his career.
Chance recalled how DeGeneres would ‘yell at stylists’ and ‘berate people in front of him’, stating that his former mentor – who left the air earlier this year, two years after she was hit with a furious toxic workplace scandal – ‘was just degrading to people.’
When Chance’s career began to lag in 2012, amid falling ticket sales and a failed album release, he says DeGeneres ‘completely abandoned’ him and ‘removed’ herself from his life – alleging that she wouldn’t even return his phone calls.
He was then dropped by Interscope and several members of his team turned their backs on him, including his managers, agent, and publicist.
Chance continued to make sporadic appearances on The Ellen Show – which he described as ‘a place of active trauma’ – however he claims that DeGeneres behaved cold toward him when the cameras weren’t rolling.
Chance said DeGeneres – who left the air about two years after a toxic workplace scandal – exhibited nasty behavior toward him and staffers, noting, ‘She was just degrading to people’
Chance said DeGeneres ‘completely removed’ herself and ‘abandoned’ him when his career sagged in 2012, and would not return his calls. He was pictured in June in LA
‘Whenever I would come on the show, it was such a fake smile,’ Chance said. ‘She wouldn’t even ask, “How are you doing? How are you holding up?” It was just like, “Here’s what we’re going to talk about. We’ll see you on there.”‘
Seven years after Chance says DeGeneres ‘abandoned’ him, he made an appearance on her show in 2019, when he opened up to the TV host about how a fan inspired his decision to come out publicly as gay in 2017.
‘She said, “How have you been?”‘ Chance said. ‘And that just killed me inside because I was like, “What do you mean how have I f***ing been? Where have you been?”‘
In the on-screen exchange, Chance said a moment that felt ‘cheap’ was when DeGeneres said she was proud of him after he publicly came out as gay in 2017.
He noted, ‘She had nothing to do with that’ and said he ‘hadn’t spoken to her in years’ at the time he went public about his sexual orientation.
‘That’s so messed up, that you’re now showing the world as if we’re so tight, we’re so good,’ he said. ‘And behind the scenes, you are this insanely manipulative person.’
Chance said he declined multiple invites to return to the series, including one that would have happened during the show’s last two weeks.
‘The first part of my career, I owe a lot of thanks to her and to that team,’ he said. ‘But the reason why I’m here today talking about an album, I owe f***ing nothing to her because I was the one that had to pull myself up. She was nowhere to be found.’
The singer is not the only one to have made allegations about DeGeneres’ behavior, however.
Chance opened up about an appearance he made on the show in 2019, as DeGeneres ‘hugged’ him prior to filming
A DeGeneres source denied the allegations made by Chance, saying that she went out of her way to try to help launch his career
His public accusations about the talk show host come just over two years after she was hit with a bitter toxic workplace scandal that saw multiple former employees making claims about her negative behavior.
The controversy began in March 2020, when a comedian named Kevin T. Porter sent out a tweet asking people to share ‘the most insane stories [they had] heard’ about DeGeneres, while claiming that she was ‘notoriously one of the meanest people alive’ – despite always preaching about the importance of kindness.
Porter’s tweet was flooded with responses, many of which included explosive claims and allegations about DeGeneres’ behavior, with one user writing that the TV host’s former head writer, Karen Kilgariff, was ‘fired’ because she ‘wouldn’t cross the picket line’ during a writer’s strike.
Alleged hostility and mistreatment of writers proved to be a reigning theme in the thread, with one user claiming that her ‘friend’ who had written for Ellen ‘for two years’ was never acknowledged by her.
TV writer Benjamin Siemon also alleged that DeGeneres had an irrationally ‘sensitive nose’ and often picked ‘someone different to really hate’ each day on set.
‘Everyone must chew gum from a bowl outside her office before talking to her and if she thinks you smell that day you have to go home and shower,’ he wrote.
‘A new staff member was told ‘every day she picks someone different to really hate. It’s not your fault, just suck it up for the day and she’ll be mean to someone else the next day. They didn’t believe it but it ended up being entirely true.’
Then, in July 2020, Buzzfeed published a damning report about DeGeneres and her hit show, which featured quotes from several former employees who claimed that they had been mistreated on set by the TV host or her producers.
‘That “be kind” bull***t only happens when the cameras are on. It’s all for show,’ one person said. ‘I know they give money to people and help them out, but it’s for show.’
In August 2020, three top producers on the show – Ed Glavin, Kevin Leman, and Jonathan Norman – were fired as a result of the controversy. An ’emotional’ and ‘apologetic’ DeGeneres announced the decision in a call with more than 200 workers, sources told Variety.
They said the host – who has herself been accused of of fostering a ‘toxic environment’ – admitted on the call she was ‘not perfect’ and that the show’s leaders had not been sensitive to ‘human beings’ as they instead focused on running the show as a ‘well-oiled machine.’
DeGeneres further addressed the scandal during one of the final episodes of her talk show earlier this year, describing the controversy as ‘very, very difficult’.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter the comedian said she had originally planned to stop the show three years ago, just before the allegations of a toxic environment had come to light, but was talked into staying.
‘They talked me into staying a little longer and I did and it’s fine,’ Ellen informed the publication when asked if she had any ‘regrets’ about her decision to end the series when she did.
Referencing the scandal, the veteran star said: ‘There was a lot that happened during that time that was unfortunate but it is what it is — you go through stuff in life and you just keep learning and growing. That’s how I have to look at it.’
Inside Ellen DeGeneres’ toxic workplace scandal
For nearly two decades, The Ellen DeGeneres Show and its openly lesbian host beamed into homes across America, charming daytime TV audiences with a feel-good blend of quirky comedy and celebrity.
But after more than 3,000 episodes, a talk show that came to rival even Oprah Winfrey’s in terms of its cultural impact bowed out Thursday under a cloud, after allegations of a toxic workplace at stark odds with its ‘be kind’ mantra.
Here’s a look back at the allegations against DeGeneres and her staff:
Weathering the storm: Ellen DeGeneres, 64, was accused in 2020 of fostering a toxic work place. Three producers were later fired, and she apologized to staff in a memo later that summer. Below are key highlights of the allegations; seen in January 2020
According to Variety, workers on DeGeneres’ show were upset early in the pandemic after they received little communication about changes to their pay.
Some also resented the hiring of a non-union firm to manage the host’s remote hookup from her home before she resumed in-studio taping.
Crew members alleged that they were paid for a reduced number of hours, while many on-staff employees had the capability to manage DeGeneres’ at-home studio but were left out.
A former bodyguard who protected DeGeneres when she hosted the 2014 Academy Awards alleged to Fox News that DeGeneres was the only client he’s work with who has refused to acknowledge him.
He accused the comedian of being cold and dismissive when her wife Portia De Rossi introduced them, though he noted that De Rossi was kind.
Cold fish: A former bodyguard claimed to Fox News that DeGeneres was cold and dismissive of him when he protected her as she hosted the 2014 Oscars; seen on stage
July 19, 2020
A report by BuzzFeed quoted one current and 10 former employees — all of whom remained anonymous — alleging a culture of fear and intimidation on set.
Some employees also described allegedly racist incidents.
Executive producers Ed Glavin and Kevin Leman, and co-executive producer Jonathan Norman were among those accused of misconduct and fostering the toxic workplace, though DeGeneres was also called out for being the top boss.
One Black former employee accused a senior-level producer of making racist comments and perpetrating ‘microaggressions.’
The employee never heard back after asking for a raise after learning an employee hired into the same position made double what she did.
Another former employee said they returned from a one-month medical leave for a suicide attempt, only to learn that their position was being eliminated.
‘You’d think that if someone just tried to kill themselves, you don’t want to add any more stress to their lives,’ they said.
One employee said they were fired after requesting time off for medical leave after a car crash, as well as some time off to attend funerals. The requests were reportedly opposed by HR and their supervisors.
Another employee said they were filed for posting a selfie in the workplace, a violation of their contract, but they alleged that others got away with the behavior.
They were previously disciplined for starting a funding campaign to cover medical costs that their work insurance was not generous enough to cover.
The report also referenced rumors swirling for years that DeGeneres was personally cold and ‘mean’ to her employees.
Serious claims: Former and current employees accused DeGeneres’ producers of sexual harassment and making racist statements in a report by BuzzFeed in July 2020; seen in January 2020
July 30, 2020
In a memo to her crew, DeGeneres appeared to take responsibility for the scandal, as her name was on the show.
‘As we’ve grown exponentially, I’ve not been able to stay on top of everything and relied on others to do their jobs as they knew I’d want them done. Clearly some didn’t,’ she wrote. ‘That will now change and I’m committed to ensuring this does not happen again.’
She noted the irony of the allegations happening at the ‘place of happiness’ she had hoped to foster.
DeGeneres said she had ‘deep compassion’ and noted the struggles she faced after coming out as gay.
She accused the soon-to-be-fired senior staff of ‘speaking on my behalf and misrepresenting who I am,’ adding that it ‘has to stop.’
DeGeneres announced in a video meeting with staff that three senior staff members — executive producers Ed Glavin and Kevin Leman and co-executive producer Jonathan Norman — had been fired after the report.
Glavin had been accused of inappropriate touching, while Leman and Norman were accused of sexual harassment. Leman and Norman denied the claims, though Glavin did not publicly respond.
New tune: DeGeneres apologized to staff in a July 2020 memo, and three senior producers were subsequently fired. But in May of last year she changed her tune and called the allegations ‘orchestrated’ and ‘misogynistic’ to The Hollywood Reporter
DeGeneres made an on-air apology to viewers on the season premiere of her series.
‘I learned that things happened here that should never have happened,’ she said. ‘I know that I’m in a position of privilege and power, and I realize that with that comes responsibility, and I take responsibility for what happens at my show.’
In her first interview since announcing the end of her show, DeGeneres changed her tune and called the press cycle about the allegations ‘orchestrated’ and ‘misogynistic’ to The Hollywood Reporter.
She defended herself on the Today Show, saying she couldn’t have kept up with all of her employees.
‘I don’t know how I could have known when there’s 255 employees here and there are a lot of different buildings, unless I literally stay here until the last person goes home at night,’ she told Savannah Guthrie. ‘It is 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.”