Ellen DeGeneres tried to regain 'status and power' in 'awkward' season premiere monologue after 'toxic' workplace claims09/22/2020
ELLEN DeGeneres strived to take back "status and power" as she opened the new season of her talk show following bullying claims, it has been suggested.
Body language expert Judi James spoke exclusively to The US Sun after Ellen, 62, issued an apology at the start of The Ellen DeGeneres programme's latest season.
During its absence from screen amid the coronavirus pandemic, numerous former employees have accused her show of tolerating everything from bullying to racism to sexual harassment.
In her first monologue of the new season since the show came under investigation, Ellen addressed the string of allegations levelled at her by former and current employees.
"If you're watching because you love me, thank you," the comedian said.
With a quip which Judi claims "created an air of confusion over the seriousness of her message", Ellen continued: "If you're watching because you don't love me, welcome. As you may have heard, this summer there were allegations of a toxic work environment at our show and then there was an investigation.
She also claimed that they had made the "necessary changes" and that they are now "starting a new chapter," especially after the firing of some show producers.
Yet Judi told us exclusively there was "an air of discomfort" despite Ellen addressing the issue head on, and hinting at its resolution.
She told us: "Hand-clapping is a powerfully contagious ritual and Ellen appeared to use it as a technique to guide her audience’s emotions and responses.
"Ellen clapped her hands together when she told them ‘If you love me, thank you’, she clapped again when she dug into the ‘apology’ and with the ‘sorry’ bit over she began to use congratulatory, reward clapping, first for herself, for ‘starting a new chapter’ and then for the 270 people in her team, and of course her audience joined in the applause, just as they joined in the laughter when Ellen cracked jokes as she went along.
"Ellen’s technique was to vary between body language displays of openness and regret and the kind of knowing, naughty-looking, but also wide-blue-eyed, ‘innocent’ humour that she is known for.
"Her brows would pucker and steeple at some points but the next she would turn sideways-on to her audience with a knowing eye glance and smile."
Judi added: "Perhaps her strongest gesture, when she stated she was ‘work in progress’, was a hand-chop, with one hand chopping into the palm of the other to suggest decisive action.
"But it became a truncated gesture, never really landing with any energy and instead it turned into a rubbing together or wiping of the hands as the statement about working on her own impatience rolled into a funny punch-line instead.
"The effect was confusing. Did she really mean she intended to change her own behaviour, or was that just part of the gag?"
Judi told how it was non-verbal signs which confirmed the American anchor's apparent "awkwardness."
Speaking of Ellen, she told us: "Her shoulders appeared raised to suggest tension, and her right hand plucked at the hem of her jacket several times while the left often performed self-comfort, rubbing rituals.
"This sense of awkwardness gave her the advantage though, as the relief once some of the ‘serious’ lines had been delivered and the smiles and jokes re-started was tangible."
She surmised: "Dressed like a lay preacher in ethereal white, she placed her hands into the pray position, both at the start and the end of her speech as though pleading to be allowed to resume her act as normal.
"During her talk though, the ‘pray’ gesture converted into a forward steeple hand movement that can often be more about status and power."
During the emotive TV show opening, Ellen candidly addressed her own failings and explained: "Being known as the be-kind lady is a tricky position to be in […] The truth is I am that person that you see on TV, I am also a lot of other things. Sometimes I get sad. I get mad. I get anxious. I get frustrated. I get impatient. And I am working on all of that.
"I am a work in progress and I am especially working on that impatience thing."
Dutch beauty YouTuber Nikkie de Jager, who was invited on the Ellen Show after coming out as transgender, was one of the first voices to speak out against Ellen and suggested the host was "cold and distant."
Comedian Kevin T Porter started a damning Twitter thread about Ellen supposedly being "one of the meanest people alive," while two anonymous sources told Variety in April staff had not received any information about pay during the coronavirus-imposed lockdown.
In the meantime, celebrities like Scooter Braun, Ashton Kutcher and Katy Perry spoke out against the allegations, offering their support to Ellen.
The host also appeared to break down during her first show back when pal Tiffany Haddish said she supported her 110 per cent.
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