Rosie O’Donnell says she feels compassion for Ellen DeGeneres in the in the wake of DeGeneres’ toxic workplace scandal.
O’Donnell, who hosted her self-titled talk show from 1996-2002, said she feels for the “Ellen DeGeneres Show” host — whom she’s known for years — despite understanding the “stories” she hears as well as the comedians’ own personal history.
“If you have a daily show, you can’t fake your essence,” O’Donnell, 58, said on the “Busy Philips is Doing Her Best” podcast. “That’s why I have compassion for Ellen. I have compassion, even though I hear the stories, and I understand.”
She continued of DeGeneres, 62: “I think she has some social awkwardness. I think from knowing her for so many years, I have my own kind of history with her.”
Earlier in the podcast, O’Donnell weighed in on DeGeneres’ schtick of surprising guests who appear on her show.
“You know how Ellen surprises everyone? I’ve never done that show because I’m terrified she’s going to scream … scare me, give me a heart attack,” said O’Donnell, who had a heart attack in 2012.
DeGeneres has come under fire over the past several months, being accused of creating a toxic work environment. Former “Ellen” staffers have also accused executives at the show of sexual misconduct. Three top producers have since been ousted.
DeGeneres — who has hosted “Ellen” since 2003 — addressed the allegations in a July statement.
“As we’ve grown exponentially, I’ve not been able to stay on top of everything and relied on others to do their jobs as they knew I’d want them done. Clearly some didn’t,” DeGeneres noted at the time. “That will now change and I’m committed to ensuring this does not happen again.”
A number of celebrities have spoken out in support of DeGeneres, including Kevin Hart, new mom Katy Perry and Diane Keaton. Earlier this month, Hart and DeGeneres were spotted dining together in California.