Ellen's copping yet more backlash over an unearthed 11-year-old tweet in which she boasted about making an employee cry.
But amid the tidal wave of criticisms the talk show host has copped in recent months, this one at least is definitely not what it seems.
"I made one of my employees cry like a baby on today's show," she tweeted on June 6, 2009. "Honestly, it felt good."
Given the horror stories that have emerged about life on-set of The Ellen Show recently, as the tweet started to resurface on social media overnight, many were quick to jump on the star.
But a source told Page Six the tweet was actually made in reference to DeGeneres' employee Jeannie Klisiewicz, whom the host surprised with a cruise on air during a 2009 episode.
"DeGeneres had hired Klisiewicz in 2008 after she wrote to the show wanting a job. After a year of work, DeGeneres wanted to 'do something special for her' because of her positive attitude and because she had entered every contest and never won," Page Six reports.
Sure enough, the segment in question was uploaded to YouTube on June 6, 2009 – a day after Ellen issued that now-controversial tweet:
The heartwarming segment shows Ellen and Klisiewicz explaining that she was initially a big fan of Ellen's who had "entered every contest from the beginning of the show for six years" and never won a thing.
Touched by her dedication, DeGeneres made a phone call to Klisiewicz while on air – and ended up offering her a job as receptionist on The Ellen Show. "I liked her so much that we hired her on the spot," Ellen revealed.
"I think you're so fantastic. We had no idea you'd be so great – you're so adorable," Ellen told her employee, who returned the praise: "She is just as great as everybody thinks she is, I want to say," Klisiewicz said, before Ellen surprised her with a $3000 cruise.
So, a touching show of generosity from a "great" host – but Ellen's tweet about the moment has been wildly misinterpreted today:
The social media mix-up comes as DeGeneres has reportedly addressed the infamous "no eye contact" rule given to her employees.
"I don't know where it started," she said in a new all-staff meeting. "Please talk to me. Look me in the eye."
Describing the rumoured rule as "insane", DeGeneres continued: "It's crazy, just not true, I don't know how it started. (It's) not who I am."
The Ellen Show is in damage control after three senior producers were this week given their marching orders in the wake of damning allegations of racial insensitivity, sexual misconduct and a toxic workplace culture.
Variety reports that the news was delivered to Ellen staff during a meeting on Monday afternoon – and that DeGeneres, 62, dialled in via videoconference.
According to the publication, a source claimed the embattled host was "emotional" while speaking to her team, and told them the recent accusations about the show "broke my heart".