Rosie O’Donnell Says Ellen DeGeneres Has ‘Some Social Awkwardness’ Amid Toxic Workplace Scandal

Rosie O'Donnell attends the 30th Annual GLAAD Media Awards New York at New York Hilton Midtown on May 04, 2019 in New York City.
Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images

Rosie O’Donnell said Ellen DeGeneres may have some “social awkwardness” on Busy Philipps’ podcast, Busy Philipps is Doing Her Best, as she discussed the high-profile toxic workplace complaints made by Ellen staffers.

The comedian — who hosted a daytime talk show between 1996 and 2002 — rushed to Ellen’s defense on the podcast, as she said she feels compassion for the beleaguered TV personality, and cited personal history between the pair.

“You can’t fake your essence,” Rosie told the 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.”

“I think that from knowing her for so many years, I have my own kind of history with her,” she added.

Rosie also revealed why she had never appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres show on the podcast, as she explained that the host’s famous habit of surprising her guests had put her off. The TV personality admitted she was “terrified” that Ellen would scare her and “give me a heart attack.”

As People noted, Rosie was not the only famous face to speak out in defense of Ellen. Katy Perry wrote the TV star a supportive note on Instagram, while Kevin Hart said he knows how lonely it can be when “people just turn their back on you.”

Meanwhile, Sofia Vergara hit back when a video that appeared to show the host mocking her accent went viral. Vergara took to Twitter August 21 to defend Ellen, as The Inquisitr covered at the time.

“Two comedians having fun with each other to entertain. I was never a victim guys, I was always in on the joke,” she wrote.

Ellen DeGeneres, winner of the Carol Burnett Award, poses in the press room during the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 05, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California.
  Kevin Winter / Getty Images

According to the news source, Ellen apologized to staffers on the production earlier in August during an emotionally charged video conference. The site reported an insider told People that during the video call, Ellen admitted she wasn’t perfect and intended to learn from her mistakes.

“I’m hearing that some people felt that I wasn’t kind or too short with them, or too impatient. I apologize to anybody if I’ve hurt your feelings in any way,” she reportedly said on the call.

The talk show host told staff that while she had wanted to see them, it had not previously been possible due to the investigation into the allegations, according to the publication. The insider also revealed the production had implemented structures and resources in an attempt to stop a similar situation arising in future.