And if misery had a look, it would be the embattled daytime talk-show host on Sunday in Montecito, California, where she was spotted heading to dinner with wife Portia de Rossi, who was hospitalized last month before undergoing an emergency appendectomy.
DeGeneres, 63, sported an all-black ensemble: a black, zipped-up jacket atop a black shirt, and black slacks. On her feet were caramel-colored, suede-looking sneakers. She had a silver chain around her neck, and her platinum-blonde hair was in the standard Ellen-esque pixie.
Portia, 48, opted for something lighter and more bohemian. She had on a loose, chunky, cool-toned sweater over a white, loose-fitting top. Her baggy pants were sea-foam green, and her ankle-high boots matched one of the grays in her sweater. She also carried a chic bag.
DeGeneres is not typically one to be photographed galavanting around Los Angeles' hot spots, but her public outings have been even more scarce since her professional scandal rocked the entertainment industry and beyond in July of 2020.
DeGeneres has reportedly lost one million viewers since then, following BuzzFeed's publication of an explosive exposé, wherein dozens of current and former employees claimed the TV personality's "be kind" mantra had been masking a toxic work environment. The employees who came forward alleged they had experienced "racism, fear and intimidation" while working for Ellen and were terminated after taking time off for medical leave or bereavement.
Though most of the alleged victims chose to remain anonymous, many provided specific details, including a former Black employee who said she was on the receiving end of staff members' racist comments. Others even claimed producers had sexually harassed them.
Warner Bros. and Telepictures – the studio and subsidiary, respectively, that distribute The Ellen DeGeneres Show – subsequently launched an internal investigation, and in August, three top-tier producers were fired: executive producer Ed Glavin, co-executive producer Jonathan Norman and head writer Kevin Leman.
For her part, DeGeneres addressed the allegations at the top of her Season 18 premiere, which debuted in September with the highest ratings for an Ellen premiere in four years – perhaps in part because people were curious about how she would broach the uncomfortable subject. She told her viewers she didn't know about many of the claims that had come to light.
"As you may have heard this summer, there were allegations of a toxic work environment at our show," she said at the time. "And then there was an investigation. I learned that things happen here that never should have happened. I take that very seriously. And I want to say, I am so sorry to the people who were affected. I know that I'm in a position of privilege and power. And I realized that with that comes responsibility, and I take responsibility for what happens at my show."
She also addressed the "articles in the press and on social media that said that I am not who I appear to be on TV," saying, "The truth is, I am that person that 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."
However, many felt the apology was vague, insincere and cavalier – and the decline in ratings since then reflect that.
According to The New York Times, the syndicated program has averaged 1.5 million viewers over the last six months, which is down from 2.6 million in the same period last year.
Despite executives' claims that Ellen's show ratings have been plummeting because of a decrease in viewership across the board due to the pandemic, DeGeneres has reportedly suffered a steeper decline than her talk-show host rivals, losing 43 percent of her audience.