Beloved American TV show host turned TV villain Ellen DeGeneres has debuted the latest season of her controversial talk show with a bang.
Ahead of the show's season 18 premiere overnight, the 62-year-old's opening monologue was posted on social media before the full episode's syndicated broadcast.
It was simply titled: "Today we're starting a new chapter".
In it, DeGeneres spends five minutes bluntly addressing the scandalous, toxic workplace rumours that have plagued her for months.
The personality has spent the American summer in lockdown and has been rarely seen in public after her spectacular fall from grace this year.
"How was everybody's summer? Good? Yeh? Mine was great," she said sarcastically, holding two thumbs up. "Super terrific."
"If you're watching because you love me, thank you," she says.
"If you're watching because you don't love me, welcome," she said, acknowledging the fact that all eyes will be on her as she faced the mounting allegations.
In the searing monologue, DeGeneres admitted she's a "work in progress" but pleaded to viewers that she is still "the person you see on TV".
"There are a lot of things I want to talk about, I've been looking forward to addressing it all directly. And unfortunately, talking to people directly has been illegal for six months," she joked, referencing the coronavirus pandemic, which saw the United States clock past 200,000 deaths yesterday.
"As you may have heard this summer there were allegations of a toxic work environment at our show and then there was an investigation. I learned that things happened here that never should've happened," she said, echoing a previous letter she sent to her crew.
"I take that very seriously, and I want to say I'm so sorry to the people who were affected."
The star – once bubbly and bouncy on each episode of The Ellen DeGeneres show – became 2020's biggest villain after several former staff members, celebrities, security guards and guests of the show opened up about their negative experiences with her.
DeGeneres alluded to the firings of top producers Ed Glavin, Kevin Leman and Jonathan Norman but offered few glimpses of real change or behind the scenes details except for adding the cast and crew had "a lot of conversations over the last few weeks about the show, our workplace and what we want for the future".
She said simply they have "made the necessary changes" without revealing what those changes are, except for the fact "we are starting a new chapter".
'I get mad'
She admitted being known as the "be kind" lady is "a tricky position to be in" after current and former employees made allegations of racism and intimidation in explosive articles by Buzzfeed. They also claimed there was widespread sexual misconduct among the top executives at the show.
She said that while she "is the person 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 the impatience thing because … and it's not going well because it's not happening fast enough."
The Finding Dory star said she knows "I am in a position of privilege and power and I realise that with that comes responsibility".
"I take that responsibility for what happens at my show. This is The Ellen DeGeneres Show. I am Ellen DeGeneres."
She joked that while she's a "pretty good actress" having played a "straight woman in movies" she said she isn't good enough to "come out here every day for 17 years and fool you".
"This is me," she said.
"My intention is to always be the best person I can be. And if I've ever let someone down, if I've ever hurt their feelings, I am so sorry for that.
"If that's ever the case, I've let myself down and I've hurt myself as well."
WarnerMedia is reportedly nearing the end of its investigation into the show.