US actress and comedian Rosie O'Donnell has revealed she thinks embattled talk show host Ellen DeGeneres is socially awkward.
Amid a disastrous PR storm that has engulfed 62-year-old Ellen this year, with allegations she is "mean" and the culture at her long-running show is toxic, O'Donnell admitted she felt sorry for the star.
"You can't fake your essence," O'Donnell told Busy Phillips on her podcast Busy Philipps Is Doing Her Best.
"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."
O'Donnell, 58, who used to have her own talk show The Rosie O'Donnell Show from 1996 to 2002, further revealed why she had never appeared as a guest on The Ellen Show.
"You know how Ellen surprises everyone?" she said, "I've never done that show because I'm terrified she's going to scare me and give me a heart attack."
It comes as an internal investigation by WarnerMedia continues into a series of shocking allegations by past and current employees who described a "toxic work environment" with a culture of "racism, fear and intimidation". They also claimed there was widespread sexual misconduct among the top executives at the show.
Executive producers Ed Glavin and Kevin Leman and co-executive producer Jonathan Norman were sacked from the show earlier this month, with the investigation ongoing.
DeGeneres is set to return to work for Season 18 of her talk show in September.
TVNZ is awaiting the results of the show's internal investigation into "toxic" bullying claims before deciding whether to continue screening it.
"We've seen this programme is subject to an internal investigation. We'll watch the outcome of this and let viewers know if we make any schedule changes," a TVNZ spokeswoman said.
- NZ Herald