Ellen's 'be kind' brand crumbles amid COVID controversies

Elisabetta Pulcini discusses the recent controversies surrounding Ellen DeGeneres

Elisabetta Pulcini
26th April 2020
Credit: TheEllenShow, Youtube
As the pandemic continues to decimate thousands across the globe, starkly distinguishing between classes, anger against entitled and out-of-touch celebrities has risen. And it seems that TV show host Ellen DeGeneres is no exception.

With the TV show host having to transition from studios to home, producers at the Ellen Show have seemingly betrayed the ‘Be Kind’ brand they have built over the years. The biggest controversy was regarding issues of pay and working hours. In addition, the employees were stricken by the general lack of interest surrounding their mental and physical wellbeing. Of course, the production of branded face masks going for $10 each must have been the priority. While it needs to be said that the proceeds of said masks will go to America’s Food Fund, it is astounding how quickly marketing adapts to a pandemic, especially when the same care is not being shown to those who make the show possible in the first place.

In fact, even when the show resumed from Ellen’s mansion, the producers decided to hire an outside, non-union tech company. This might not have been such a pressing issue, had Ellen not pandered and stated that resuming the show was done in support of her crew. This results especially hypocritical, since Variety reported that “nearly all crew members were told last week to brace for a 60% reduction in pay, even as the show continues to air”.

Believe it or not, this is not the first controversy concerning coronavirus the star has encountered

To those who would, inexplicably, still be more forgiving of the millionaire, it should be known that other TV show hosts have handled the matter very differently, without having to obnoxiously stamp their brand on it. Amongst others, Jimmy Kimmel Live! stands out, as the staff was paid by the host himself in the initial weeks of the lockdown.

Believe it or not, this is not the first controversy concerning coronavirus the star has encountered: on her first home show, she kicked things off with an unsavoury joke about her multimillion-dollar mansion being like a prison. This, of course, in complete lack of knowledge (or care) about the how the inhumane conditions of prisoners is disproportionately exposing them to the virus.

Ellen compares her mansion to jail as a 'joke'

The brand of the ‘Queen of Nice’ has been shaking for a while now. Back in 2019, she was heavily criticised after being photographed with former US president and war criminal George W. Bush. Maybe out of stupidity, maybe out of plain ignorance, she decided to address the critics by stating that we all need to ‘be kind’ to those on the other side of the political spectrum. Spoken like a true millionaire.

Ironically, the crumbling of Ellen’s persona exposes why an entire class of people should not depend on the kindness of the rich. Kindness is a virtue, not a brand.

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AUTHOR: Elisabetta Pulcini
Film Editor 19/20 and Law (LLB) graduate. An Italian passionate about journalism and the law: always up for a debate. @ElisabettaPul

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