Baldwin, who was introducing his newest baby on the show, said, “Before we talk about my kids, Ellen, I just want to say, you are someone, I’ve followed your career from when you were doing standup and you were a solo performer. I’ve watched the films you’ve done and I’ve watched your success on this TV show, and you are one of the funniest and most talented women, one of the most funny and talented people in all of show business.”
He continued, “We all have some patches of white water here, but you keep going. Don’t you stop doing what you’re doing.”
DeGeneres — who launched Season 18 of her show this week after a summer of accusations of workplace toxicity and an internal investigation of the show — replied, “Yes, sir. Thank you so much, Alec. That means so much to me. I appreciate it. Yeah, there have been some rapids and I’m maneuvering the raft.”
Baldwin went on to introduce his new addition, Eduardo, with help from wife Hilaria and played a game, Match Game: Baldwin Baby Edition, trying to identify his children, now that he has six. But DeGeneres’s show scandal wasn’t far from his mind. As he wrapped up, he reminded DeGeneres to “keep moving forward.”
“You just keep moving forward because it’s not the same without you,” Baldwin told DeGeneres. “You’re funny. We need you. We need you, we need you. Keep log rolling as best you can, OK?”
DeGeneres addressed the scandal in her opening monologue on Monday. Regarding the troubling reports claiming intimidation, racial insensitivity and sexual misconduct in the workplace, she said, “I learned that things happened here that never should have happened. I take that very seriously and I want to say that I am so sorry to the people who were affected. I know that I’m in a position of privilege and power and I realize with that power comes responsibility and I take responsibility for what happens at my show.”
She added that the show was “starting a new chapter,” which began with the axing of three senior staff members: Ed Glavin, Kevin Leman and Jonathan Norman.
However, DeGeneres was accused of fostering the environment of toxicity. And some wondered if she was taking it seriously when joking in the same episode about some of the claims against her, including that she didn’t allow her staff to chew gum around her because of her “sensitive nose” and that she didn’t want anyone to make eye contact with her on set.
The comedian quipped, “I’m excited to see all of my staff and my crew. Hi, everybody. Please don’t look me in the eye. Oh, I’m kidding. But I will be passing out gum for everyone. Kidding again.”
However, a DeGeneres source insisted that the talk show host is looking at her own role in the scandal.
“Ellen is definitely a perfectionist and knows she can be difficult, but she never wanted to come across as mean-spirited,” an insider told People magazine. “She is looking at herself to make changes.”