Rosie O’Donnell Has ‘Compassion’ for Ellen DeGeneres Amid Talk Show Drama: ‘She Has Some Social Awkwardness’

Been there, done that. As a comedian who has hosted her own talk show, Rosie O’Donnell gave her opinion on the controversy surrounding Ellen DeGeneres.

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“You can’t fake your essence,” the Rosie O’Donnell Show alum, 58, said during the Wednesday, August 26, episode of the “Busy Philipps Is Doing Her Best” podcast. “That’s why I have compassion for Ellen, right? I have compassion, even though, you know, I hear the stories and I understand. I think she has some social awkwardness.”

O’Donnell then explained why she has not been a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. “You know how Ellen surprises everyone?” she mentioned. “I’ve never done that show because I’m terrified she’s going to scare me and give me a heart attack.”

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Rosie ODonnell Has Compassion for Ellen DeGeneres Amid Talk Show Drama
Rosie O’Donnell and Ellen DeGeneres Broadimage/Shutterstock; Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock

The former View cohost went on to share what her experience was like while hosting her talk show. “[Hosting] wasn’t like anything close to real life,” she noted. “You know, you get mass adulation from the multitudes every day like a shot of heroin in your arm. You get people clapping at your very existence and then telling you how you altered their life, and it’s a lot to take in. And when I stepped away, I knew that this was all I could take.”

The Ellen DeGeneres Show faced backlash in July after former employees claimed they were subjected to racism, fear and intimidation on the set. More former staffers accused now-ousted producers Ed Glavin, Jonathan Norman and Kevin Leman of sexual misconduct, though they denied the allegations.

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The Finding Dory star, 62, addressed producers and staff from her talk show on August 17. “She said she’s not on set as much as everyone else, and she didn’t know what was going on,” a source exclusively told Us Weekly. “Ellen said she was ashamed and embarrassed to hear about it and assured them it would not continue.”

DeGeneres apologized to her employees in a July letter. “On day one of our show, I told everyone in our first meeting that The Ellen DeGeneres Show would be a place of happiness — no one would ever raise their voice, and everyone would be treated with respect,” she wrote. “Obviously, something changed, and I am disappointed to learn that this has not been the case. And for that, I am sorry. Anyone who knows me knows it’s the opposite of what I believe and what I hoped for our show.”

She added: “We all have to be more mindful about the way our words and actions affect others, and I’m glad the issues at our show were brought to my attention. I promise to do my part in continuing to push myself and everyone around me to learn and grow. It’s important to me and to Warner Bros. that everyone who has something to say can speak up and feels safe doing so.”

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