It all started with an awkward interview.
American actress Dakota Johnson, of Fifty Shades of Grey fame, sat down with Ellen DeGeneres on her talk show, The Ellen Show, for a chat in December last year.
Things got off to a frosty start when DeGeneres mentioned Johnson's recent 30th birthday.
"Happy belated birthday," DeGeneres said. "How was the party? I wasn't invited."
As the audience laughed, Johnson replied sternly, "Actually, no, that's not the truth, Ellen. You were invited."
Johnson told DeGeneres she made sure to invite her to her party this year because she gave her "a bunch of sh*t" last year when she didn't receive an invite to her party.
"I did invite you and you didn't come," Johnson repeated.
DeGeneres was sceptical at first: "This time you invited me? Are you sure? I don't think so."
"Ask everybody," Johnson said. "Ask Jonathan, your producer."
DeGeneres looked off camera at her producer who confirmed that Johnson had invited her to the birthday party.
"Why didn't I go?" she asked out loud. "It was probably in Malibu, that's too far for me to go to."
After the interview with Johnson, it quickly emerged as to why DeGeneres missed the party.
The 62-year-old was actually in Texas where she controversially sat next to former US president George W. Bush at an NFL game.
The NFL game was a PR nightmare for DeGeneres, who was slammed for sitting next to Bush, with many attacking the talk show host – a prominent gay, liberal and outspoken LGBT activist – for cosying up with the former Republican president, who once endorsed a constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage.
Bush also entered the US into a war with Iraq and Afghanistan under the later-disproved belief that they possessed weapons of mass destruction.
Actor John Cusack went as far as to accuse DeGeneres of "normalising mass murderers" through association with Bush.
DeGeneres later addressed the pair's unlikely friendship and the criticism surrounding it on her talk show.
"People were upset. They thought, 'Why is a gay Hollywood liberal sitting next to a conservative Republican president?'" she said.
"I'm friends with George Bush. In fact, I'm friends with a lot of people who don't share the same beliefs that I have. We're all different, and I think that we've forgotten that that's OK that we're all different.
"Just because I don't agree with someone on everything doesn't mean that I'm not going to be friends with them. When I say be kind to one another, I don't only mean the people that think the same way that you do. I mean be kind to everyone."
Actor Mark Ruffalo wasn't buying it. "Until George W. Bush is brought to justice for the crimes of the Iraq War, (including American-lead (sic) torture, Iraqi deaths & displacement, and the deep scars — emotional & otherwise — inflicted on our military that served his folly), we can't even begin to talk about kindness," he tweeted after the furore.
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Ever since then, it seems DeGeneres – a TV icon for the better part of two decades and a globally well-respected human being – has copped the wrath of the public on a number of occasions; becoming the target of fans yet again this week after making a "distasteful" quarantine joke.
Hosting her show from the comfort of her living room, DeGeneres, who has a net worth of US$490 million, made a joke in her opening monologue saying quarantining with her wife Portia de Rossi was similar to incarceration, which upset many of her viewers.
"This is like being in jail is what it is," DeGeneres joked. "Mostly because I've been wearing the same clothes for 10 days and everyone in here is gay!"
Several fans took to Twitter to lambaste the comedian for her privilege, calling her out for likening the conditions of isolation in her mansion to those of prisoners, even in joking.
"My 19 year old daughter is considered an 'essential employee'. She's a fast food worker. She's exposed EVERY DAY. No one GAF about Ellen's privilege pampers a$$ stuck in her mansion. Show me @ellen working the lines @ the grocery store. NO mask, NO gloves. Then I might care," one angry user wrote.
"Petition to stick her in an actual jail after quarantine is lifted. Just for a month or so, so maybe she can learn something," someone else joked.
"Hey, Ellen, go volunteer at a grocery store or food bank. Get on the front lines if being sequestered in your mansion is just too difficult. Unbelievable," a third user noted.
It comes weeks after she was the subject of a viral Twitter thread that centred on the topic DeGeneres was the "meanest person alive", encouraging people to share any personal stories they had to validate the theory.
Comedian Kevin T. Porter tweeted: "Right now we all need a little kindness. You know, like Ellen DeGeneres always talks about!
"She's also notoriously one of the meanest people alive. Respond to this with the most insane stories you've heard about Ellen being mean & I'll match every one w/ $2 to @LAFoodBank."
There were more than 1000 replies to Porter's tweet, with people detailing their not-so-nice experiences with Ellen.
TV writer Benjamin Siemon replied to Porter's tweet with: "She has a 'sensitive nose' so everyone must chew gum from a bowl outside her office before talking to her and if she thinks you smell that day you have to go home and shower."
He also tweeted: "A new staff member was told, 'Every day she picks someone different to really hate. It's not your fault, just suck it up for the day and she'll be mean to someone else the next day.' They didn't believe it but it ended up being entirely true."
Right now we all need a little kindness. You know, like Ellen Degeneres always talks about! 😊❤️— Kevin T. Porter (@KevinTPorter) March 20, 2020
She’s also notoriously one of the meanest people alive
Respond to this with the most insane stories you’ve heard about Ellen being mean & I’ll match every one w/ $2 to @LAFoodBank
Chris Farah tweeted: "I worked @RealFoodDaily, served her … at brunch. She wrote a letter to the owner & complained about my chipped nail polish (not that it was on her plate but just that it was on my hand). I had worked till closing the night before & this was next morn, almost got me fired."
Author Allison Freer wrote: "Was working on a show @ WB that was next to her stage. Was our showrunner's 50th Bday. Caterer grilling steaks outside for special fancy lunch. Ellen sent someone over to demand they stop, as she doesn't eat meat. She's the worst."
She also tweeted: "I have another food one: she polices her crew's lunch orders, nobody allowed to eat fish etc. They would come hide on our stage to eat what they wanted away from her."
Stand-up comedian Josh Levesque replied with: "Another friend of mine was a PA on her show and when Russell Brand came into the employee break area to chat with the crew and hang out, Ellen came in and got mad at him – saying he didn't have to interact with these people, that's why guests have their own area backstage."
Singer Detox tweeted: "An old friend worked on her lot & smiled & said 'good afternoon' to her one day & she became unhinged. 'Who do you think you are? You don't look at me', yada yada. She said Portia was with her & seemed embarrassed & tried to calm her down. Has forever changed my opinion of her."
After being inundated with responses, Porter tweeted: "Well this got out of hand! It's now hard to tell which stories are real or not, so I've rounded up to 300 and donated $600!"
DeGeneres never addressed the claims, but it's certainly been a bumpy few months for one of daytime TV's most beloved figures.