The Ellen DeGeneres Show prides itself on being a place of joy, positivity and inclusivity. Host Ellen DeGeneres even ends every single episode with the words, “Be kind to one another.” But it turns out that not exactly everybody is welcome to join in with all the fun. In fact, the genial talk show presenter has officially banned several famous faces – including reality stars, movie stars and singers – from ever stepping foot on to the iconic set. So who’s on the blacklist – and why?
You’d think these celebrities would’ve behaved pretty appallingly to be banned from such an uplifting show, after all. Since first airing on NBC in September 2003, you see, the daytime hit quickly established itself as one of the most feelgood programs on the box. Eschewing the usual chat show format, The Ellen DeGeneres Show even invites its guests to participate in all kinds of wacky games and stunts. And the comedienne is not just interested in famous people.
Indeed, over the years, DeGeneres has given countless members of the general public their chances to shine. Most have been more than happy to simply enjoy their brief 15 minutes of fame. Others, such as yodeling sensation Mason Ramsey, have managed to carve out careers as a result. And – fortunately – none have found themselves banned from appearing on the show again.
This is perhaps not surprising, given that DeGeneres has become renowned for the generosity that she shows to some of these individuals. In a promotion dubbed Twelve Days of Giveaways, for instance, the beloved host handed out prizes worth approximately $3,000 to members of the audience for 12 episodes in a row. And this concept was later expanded to a three-night spin-off by NBC in December 2019. It’s safe to say, then, that the general public are never going to be banned from the show.
So why does DeGeneres always seem so happy? Well, in a 2011 interview with Parade, the star revealed that she made the conscious decision to make sure her chat show is always upbeat. She said, “The world is filled with negativity. I want people to watch me and think, ‘I feel good, and I’m going to make somebody else feel good today.’”
DeGeneres reiterated her stance in a conversation with Channel Guide Magazine. “People are more alike than they are different, and if we show each other compassion, the world can be a better place,” she said. “Plus, I think the kindness you put out into the world comes back to you like a boomerang, and there’s no fear of it hitting you in the face.”
As we’ve established, then, DeGeneres always seems to radiate positivity – even when she’s banning other people from her platform. And she explained how she keeps smiling in a 2011 interview with Good Housekeeping. She said, “I assume tomorrow I’ll be happier than today because things are great. I have a great career, and I have wonderful fans who really are supportive and loyal because I’m not hiding anything from them. So, on the spectrum of happiness, I’m pretty high up there.”
The program’s optimistic nature has reaped its rewards, too, managing to pick up an astonishing 166 nominations at the Daytime Emmy Awards and going on to win 61. And the show’s YouTube channel regularly features in the video-sharing platform’s Top 20 list of the most-subscribed. What’s more, with an episode average of 4.2 million viewers, it’s also one of daytime TV’s most-watched shows. It’s understandable, then, that the producers would want to keep any bad vibes off the air.
And, for the most part, the stars who appear on Ellen are positive. In 2017, for instance, DeGeneres was asked by The Huffington Post to pick her all-time favorite moments on the show. The host included several non-famous people in her list, including a four-year-old singer named Kai and the various unsuspecting members of the public who were pranked in a hidden camera sketch. But, of course, various celebrities also featured in her Top 10.
DeGeneres singled out one of the pop world’s biggest superstars, telling the site, “There’s so much to love about Taylor Swift. She’s kind, she’s gorgeous, she’s an amazing artist, and when you scare her, she crumbles like a potato chip.” She also enjoyed taking on a dance craze with another A-list singer. DeGeneres said, “I’ve accomplished a lot of wonderful things on my show, but teaching Britney Spears how to dance “Gangnam Style” was definitely a high point.”
But it seems DeGeneres’ relentless optimism has sometimes landed her in hot water. In 2019, for example, she faced severe criticism after being spotted at an NFL game with George W. Bush. The 43rd President of the United States had supported an amendment in the constitution that would ban marriage between same-sex couples. And many believed that this appearance made the out-and-proud DeGeneres a traitor to the LGBTQ+ community. So, did DeGeneres ban herself from her own show?
Well, no. Instead of apologizing for her unlikely friendship, DeGeneres came out fighting. During the height of the furor, you see, she told her talk show viewers, “Here’s the thing: I’m friends with George Bush. In fact, I’m friends with a lot of people who don’t share the same beliefs that I have.”
A defiant DeGeneres continued, “We’re all different, and I think that we’ve forgotten that that’s okay that we’re all different. Just because I don’t agree with someone on everything, [it] doesn’t mean that I’m not gonna be friends with them.” But this wasn’t the first time that the host had been accused of giving a well-known figure a free pass when it came to their LGBTQ+ views.
In fact, earlier that same year DeGeneres was blasted for the comments that she made to Kevin Hart when he appeared on her show. The Ride Along star had only just quit his role as Academy Awards host after years-old tweets of a homophobic nature surfaced online. And according to many viewers, DeGeneres seemed all too happy to forgive and forget.
Indeed, the comedienne even went as far as to describe those who had criticized Hart for his past offensive comments as “haters.” And she also vowed to help the performer get his Oscars gig back by contacting its organizers directly. DeGeneres, it seems, had misjudged the mood of the nation and soon faced a backlash of her own.
The LGBTQ+ community in particular were vociferous in their distaste for DeGeneres’ comments. And in a piece for Vogue, Bridget Read argued, “No one else seems to be seeing the growth that DeGeneres claims Hart has displayed.” Despite DeGeneres’ efforts, though, the Oscars organizers decided against reinstating Hart as host.
It’s true, of course, that not everybody can be positive 100 percent of the time. In 2018, in fact, DeGeneres admitted to The New York Times that her ever-smiling, do-gooder public persona isn’t always who she is. Referring to her return to stand-up comedy, she said, “I wanted to show all of me. The talk show is me, but I’m also playing a character of a talk-show host. There’s a tiny, tiny bit of difference.”
DeGeneres also admitted that she can often feel frustrated by how members of the public sometimes respond to her. She told the newspaper, “There have been times someone wants a picture, and while I’m doing a selfie, they’re like, ‘You’re not dancing!’ Of course, I’m not dancing. I’m walking down the street.”
And even before all of the criticism both DeGeneres and her show have come up against in 2020, the star refuted rumors that, behind the scenes, her talk show isn’t always a happy place to work. She said, “That bugs me if someone is saying that because it’s an outright lie. The first day I said: ‘The one thing I want is everyone here to be happy and proud of where they work, and if not, don’t work here.’ No one is going to raise their voice or not be grateful. That’s the rule to this day.”
Another factor that may work to dismantle DeGeneres’ reputation as the nicest woman on daytime TV is the fact that she’s apparently not averse to the odd celebrity beef. In fact, according to entertainment site Page Six, there are several famous faces who the host refuses to have on her show.
Caitlyn Jenner is one of those stars who’s reportedly fallen foul of the genial talk show host. In 2015 the reality TV star appeared on the famous sofa where she espoused her views on same-sex marriage. Jenner began, “At first, I was not for [it]. I thought, ‘I’m a traditionalist. I’m older than most people in the audience. I kinda like tradition, and it’s always been a man and a woman.’ And I’m thinking, ‘I don’t quite get it.’”
However, Jenner went on to add that she had since changed her views on the subject. She said, “I don’t ever want to stand in front of someone’s happiness. That’s not my job. If that word ‘marriage’ is really, really that important to you I can go with it. I’m on board.”
“It’s going to be pretty much the law of the land,” Jenner continued. “So yeah, I’m okay with that. ’Cause I don’t want to stand in front of someone’s happiness.” But DeGeneres wasn’t particularly enamored with Jenner’s form of acceptance – and attempted to further educate the star on why such equality matters.
Jenner claimed in her memoir, The Secrets of My Life, that she then expanded on how her views on the matter had changed. She also accused DeGeneres of editing these comments out of the final broadcast as a way of making their interview go viral. But that’s not all. Jenner has also accused DeGeneres of turning the LGBTQ+ community against her with comments that she made on The Howard Stern Show.
DeGeneres told the shock jock that she believed Jenner not only found the concept of marriage equality uncomfortable but also homosexuality in general. She said, “You’re wanting people to understand and accept you, and this is really confusing to people. And you still have a judgment about gay people and marriage.”
Additionally, DeGeneres also believes that Jenner refused to partake in any dancing on the show because of her apparent issues with gay people. She told Stern, “I don’t know her, and I’m trying to understand it because I don’t fully understand it either. But I also want everyone to be happy.”
Of course, Jenner isn’t the only famous face whose views on same-sex marriage have angered DeGeneres. Comedienne Sherri Shepherd had once been a regular on the daytime talk show, appearing in its very first season. But after making several controversial remarks about homosexuality, Shepherd was allegedly banned from the guestlist.
In an interview with Fusion, Shepherd said, “You grow up being a Christian, and you grow up believing homosexuality is a sin; you’re going to hell if you’re a homosexual. This is something that they teach in churches. So it’s something that I grew up believing. I might not agree with your lifestyle, but I love you. You may not agree with my lifestyle, but you love me.”
Shepherd later apologized for her controversial remarks on The View, telling viewers, “My interview was misrepresented, and only a portion of my comments were used as a headline to give the impression that I was condemning members of the LGBT[Q+] community living in their own truth. In the interview, I express I was raised as a child to have a certain set of beliefs. But my beliefs have evolved significantly as my own personal relationship with Christ has increased.”
Shepherd’s apology doesn’t appear to have placated DeGeneres, though. And even several years on, the comedienne still hasn’t been invited back to appear as a guest. An unnamed industry insider reportedly told Page Six that this is an example of DeGeneres’ hypocrisy. “She said she can be friends with people who have different views from hers,” remarked the source. “Yet she won’t give those people her platform and block[s] them from appearing on her show.”
And Shepherd herself seems baffled as to why she remains blacklisted by The Ellen DeGeneres Show. The comedienne told MSN, “I’ve always admired and respected Ellen. She was the first to book me for my first talk show, where I went on to hold a record 23 appearances. And she championed for me to be a co-host on The View in 2007.”
“The views and thoughts that I held have evolved from the statements I made on The View over 10 years ago, and I support same-sex marriage and partnerships,” Shepherd continued. “I am unsure why I haven’t been booked on Ellen’s show since my tenure on The View. But I welcome the opportunity to reconnect with Ellen to thank her for her support and opportunities that have happened for me because of her.”
Perhaps Shepherd can take comfort from the fact that she’s not the only comedienne to have incurred DeGeneres’ wrath. The ever-outspoken Kathy Griffin also appears to have made an enemy of the talk show host from the get-go. Griffin, you see, has never been invited on to The Ellen DeGeneres Show – a fact that she’s repeatedly mentioned throughout the years.
DeGeneres first spoke about her beef with Griffin in a 2007 chat with W magazine. The talk show host said, “I know she had a big thing about wanting to be on the show, and we didn’t book her. She did a whole thing that I banned her from the show. I didn’t ban her from the show because first, you have to be on the show to be banned.”
And relations between the pair got even more strained in 2014 when DeGeneres refused to take part in a tribute show for the late Joan Rivers. During a stand-up routine four years later, Griffin told the audience, “I just called her, and I just said, ‘Look, woman to woman, comic to comic, I think you need to let go of your hatred for Joan Rivers. She’s passed away, just do a f***ing tribute, be cool.’”
Griffin claims that DeGeneres excused her absence with this comment: “There’s a difference between mean and funny.” But despite her lengthy feud with the talk show host, Griffin says she has nothing but admiration for DeGeneres. She told Good Day New York, “I am apparently not her cup of tea. But I think she is great. I am not a comedy snob.”
Gospel singer Kim Burrell also found herself snubbed by The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2017 after making derogatory comments about gay people on a Facebook Live video. The vocalist was due to make an appearance on the chat show to perform her contribution to the Hidden Figures soundtrack. However, on hearing of Burrell’s social media outburst, DeGeneres refused to give her any publicity.
DeGeneres even addressed the issue when the co-writer of the song, Pharrell Williams, appeared on the show. She said, “I actually didn’t know her, her name is Kim Burrell. She made a statement, she was doing a Facebook Live and she said some very not nice things about homosexuals, so I didn’t feel that was good of me to have her on the show to give her a platform after she was saying things about me.”
There is one individual, however, who’s proved that DeGeneres doesn’t always hold a grudge. In 2011 a promo for the comedy The Dilemma saw Vince Vaughn’s character remark, “Electric cars are gay. I mean, not homosexual, but my-parents-are-chaperoning-the-dance gay.” This politically incorrect joke reportedly inspired DeGeneres to ban Vaughn from appearing on her show.
According to rumors, you see, DeGeneres was prompted to make the move following Anderson Cooper’s disgust about the line on CNN. But DeGeneres didn’t blacklist Vaughn for too long. In fact, she’s invited him on to her show on numerous occasions in recent times. And an insider allegedly told Page Six that the pair even “love each other.”
Mind you, if the rumor mill is to be believed, not every star on the planet is a fan of “The Queen of Nice,” either. And it seems that there is no shortage of famous people who don’t buy into Ellen’s relatable personality. So here are 14 more celebrities who apparently have a feud with the chat show host.
14. Liza Minnelli
When DeGeneres hosted the Oscars back in 2014 she made a gag at the expense of screen legend Liza Minelli, who was in the audience. DeGeneres appeared to joke that the Cabaret star looked as though she was wearing drag when she said, “Hello to the best Liza Minnelli impersonator I’ve ever seen… Good job, sir.”
The joke raised some eyebrows among viewers, and Minelli also appeared to be upset by the jibe. In 2014, you see, she told TMZ, “I think [DeGeneres] thought it would be funny… But she never stopped after she said it and said, ‘my friend, Liza Minnelli.’ I think it went a little astray on her, and I don’t think she meant any harm at all, and she’s a wonderful lady.”
13. Jamar Rogers
Given how passionate DeGeneres has been in her advocacy of LGBTQ+ issues, many were shocked when the comedian Kevin Hart appeared on Ellen in April 2019. At the end of the previous year, you see, the comedian had been fired as the host of the Oscars due to homophobic comments he’d made in tweets dating back to 2010 and 2011.
During Hart’s appearance on Ellen, some people felt DeGeneres didn’t hold the actor accountable for his offensive comments. One such person was The Voice star and advocate for the HIV-positive community: Jamar St. Rogers. Yes, in 2019 he tweeted DeGeneres, “This is so disheartening. As both a former guest on your show and as a black gay man, to reduce Kevin’s critics as mere ‘haters’ is dismissive and harmful.”
12. Meghan McCain
Another person to publicly criticize Ellen for its handling of the Hart interview was Meghan McCain. The View star seemed to echo the sentiments of journalist Yashar Ali who tweeted, “Kevin Hart continues to act like a man who is inconvenienced and frustrated that he has to discuss this. He comes across as defensive/angry, not contrite/understanding. His comments about the so-called online mob (many LGBTQ folks who have dealt with this their entire lives).”
Responding to Ali’s tweet, McCain expressed her own disappointment of Hart’s appearance on Ellen. She wrote, “This was my issue as we talked about on the show today – where is the genuine apology to the LGBT community and teachable moment? And I am not an internet mob person.”
11. Piers Morgan
Piers Morgan is another famous name who has been critical of DeGeneres. In 2017 he slammed the chat show host as a hypocrite after she wished Katy Perry happy birthday with the use of some eyebrow-raising innuendo, when she tweeted, “Happy birthday, @KatyPerry! It’s time to bring out the big balloons!”
DeGeneres’ cheeky “balloon” comment was possibly a nod to Perry’s 2013 tune “Birthday.” However, the comedian added a photo of herself checking out the singer’s bosom with her mouth agog. At the time, Morgan complained, “If a man made this joke, Ellen would lead the cries of ‘SEXIST PIG!’”
10. Drew Barrymore
Drew Barrymore and DeGeneres teamed up with each other in 2017 on the NBC show First Dates. Barrymore was the narrator of the series, while DeGeneres was an executive producer. And despite this sounding like a match made in heaven, it was reportedly very far from the case.
In fact, according to an article by In Touch Weekly, the two stars simply don’t get on. A source allegedly told the magazine, “Ellen and Drew are a case of oil and water… Ellen expected to be the one calling the shots, but Drew thinks she should have creative control because she’s the movie star people are tuning in to see.”
9. Wendy Williams
Wendy Williams and DeGeneres have reportedly been ratings rivals since the launch of The Wendy Williams Show in 2008. Prior to that, you see, Ellen had made DeGeneres the reigning queen of daytime chat shows. But Williams’ arrival on the scene meant that she now had fierce competition.
Furthermore, DeGeneres allegedly believes that Williams is too outspoken in her opinions. And when Williams appeared on Ellen in 2015, the host took the opportunity to confront her rival about her controversial views. So, there appears to be no love lost between the two chat show queens.
8. Dakota Johnson
Dakota Johnson and DeGeneres were once good enough friends for the Fifty Shades actress to invite the comedian to her 30th birthday party in October 2019. However, DeGeneres reportedly didn’t turn up to the bash. And as a result, Johnson confronted the host about it when she appeared on Ellen the following month.
DeGeneres brought up Johnson’s recent birthday celebrations, claiming that she hadn’t been invited. But Johnson protested, “I did invite you, and you didn’t come.” At first, DeGeneres was flustered. She soon had an excuse for the actress, however, telling her, “Oh, yeah! I had that thing…” Ouch!
7. John Cusack
Birthday-gate aside, DeGeneres faced yet more controversy in October 2019 when she was pictured hanging out with George W. Bush at an NFL game. The affable-looking encounter proved controversial, given the former President’s opposition to gay marriage as well as his involvement in the Iraq War – which cost civilian lives and supposedly involved torture.
After receiving criticism for her congenial encounter with Bush, DeGeneres defended her friendship with him on her show. In a monologue, she said, “I’m friends with a lot of people who don’t share the same beliefs that I have. We’re all different.” However, John Cusack didn’t buy it and, in a tweet, accused DeGeneres of “normalizing a mass murderer.”
6. Tim Robbins
And Cusack wasn’t the only celebrity to call DeGeneres out over her association with Bush. Speaking to BuzzFeed News, actor Tim Robbins also criticized the chat show host for “making peace” with the former President. He added that Bush was living in “an elite bubble” and has never faced the consequences of his actions.
In his BuzzFeed interview, Robbins said, “Listen, I’m all for going across aisles and making peace with people, but there’s certain people that are walking around right now that are responsible for a lot of death… That is, for me, something [Bush] has never reckoned with, never taken responsibility for.”
5. Susan Sarandon
In addition, Robbins’ former partner Susan Sarandon also felt that DeGeneres had downplayed people’s criticism of her relationship with Bush. The actress believed that DeGeneres had dismissed them for failing to understand friendships that bridged political differences. Furthermore, the host’s response to the controversy had been unduly light-hearted, contrasting with the serious consequences of the Iraq War.
Writing on Twitter in October 2019, Sarandon said that DeGeneres’ explanation of her friendship with Bush was guilty of “missing the point entirely.” The actress explained, “DeGeneres framed the issue as simply a matter of her hanging out with someone with different opinions, not a man repeatedly accused of being a war criminal.”
4. Mark Ruffalo
Mark Ruffalo was also not convinced by DeGeneres’ defense of her friendship with Bush. He, too, felt as though the former President had not taken responsibility for his wrongdoings. As a result, the Marvel star decided to make his feelings on the matter known in the form of an impassioned tweet that he shared in October 2019.
Addressing the DeGeneres-Bush friendship, Ruffalo said, “Sorry, until George W. Bush is brought to justice for the crimes of the Iraq War, (including American-lead torture, Iraqi deaths & displacement, and the deep scars – emotional & otherwise – inflicted on our military that served his folly), we can’t even begin to talk about kindness.”
3. Jameela Jamil
Clearly, the photographs of DeGeneres and Bush touched a nerve among many in the showbiz. And the Good Place star waded into the Twitter debate, despite admitting that she knew little of Bush’s reputation prior to the controversy. After educating herself, however, Jameela Jamil tweeted that she now understood why people were upset.
The British actress wrote, “Ooooof learning today about the full extent of Bush’s heinous presidency… we weren’t taught much about him at school, we just heard he was stupid…(we were dealing with our own epic nightmare of a prime minister back then). What a monstrous leader. I now understand the rage…”
2. Kelly Ripa
Talk show host Kelly Ripa’s rift with DeGeneres goes back beyond the Bush controversy, though. In fact, the beef began in 2017 when DeGeneres invited Ripa’s former Live! co-host Michael Strahan on to Ellen – a year after he had jumped ship to Good Morning America.
Strahan’s sudden move to a rival morning TV show had reportedly upset Ripa, and she’d felt that DeGeneres had taken her former co-star’s side by having him on her show. But DeGeneres reportedly tried to make peace with Ripa, allegedly reaching out to apologize for her actions.
1. Elton John
The flamboyant singer’s rift with DeGeneres goes back even further still – back to 1997, in fact, when the comedian first came out as a lesbian. The news sparked intense press interest, though DeGeneres herself only spoke with Time and appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show. But even so, there seemed to be blanket coverage of DeGeneres’ sexual orientation.
With all the attention that surrounded DeGeneres, soon came the backlash. And, perhaps surprisingly, Elton John was among the people to criticize the star. In 2018 during an appearance on Dax Shepard’s Armchair Expert podcast, DeGeneres recalled, “Even Elton John said, ‘Shut up already. We know you’re gay. Be funny.’”