One needn’t know her personally to be aware that Ellen DeGeneres sucks.
Once lauded as a human rights trailblazer, her show’s toxic work environment and horror stories from service workers are part of her legacy forever.
Greyson Chance, who rose to viral fame as a child and is now an adult singer, had the misfortune of meeting her.
She was going to change his life, and she did. Just not necessarily in the ways that he had hoped.
Greyson Chance was just a tween when his school performance of “Paparazzi” made waves online.
Ellen DeGeneres invited him to appear on her show. Lady Gaga herself called in to praise him.
From there, Ellen added him to her brand new record label. He launched a music career.
(Absolutely including this because “Honeysuckle” is definitely a great example of his work as an adult)
In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, however, Greyson is opening up about his experience with Ellen.
Like so many hotel employees, waiters, producers, crew, and more, he saw a side to her that she never showed on camera.
“I’ve never met someone more manipulative, more self-centered, and more blatantly opportunistic than her,” Greyson described.
“I’m going to protect you. I’m going to be here for you. We’re going to do this together,” he recalled her saying when he first joined her label.
That was in 2010. Ellen signed him as her first act on eleveneleven, the record label that she co-created.
At first, when he released a mini EP just five months after signing with her, things were great.
Ellen was in regular contact. Greyson felt that she became “really invested” in him.
At the same time, even then, Greyson observed that she “became domineering and way too controlling.”
“My whole week, my whole month, my whole year could change [with] one text message from her,” he noted. “That was horrible.”
Greyson recalled a time when she didn’t like a performance video. With one word, he and his team had to redo everything.
And apparently her expectations of absolute creative control extended to his personal life.
When Greyson was touring, Ellen sent him an advance copy of Justin Bieber’s Never Say Never documentary.
She demanded that he watch it. Tired from touring, Greyson did not make it a priority.
What followed was Ellen contacting his mother in a call so memorable that it is clearly etched into his memory.
“I just remember hearing on the other side of the phone,” he described, “just yelling [and] beratement.”
Greyson recalled Ellen yelling at his mom: “‘What type of mother are you? Do you realize that I went out of my way to get this for you, and he can’t sit down and watch it?’”
“Disappointed isn’t even remotely what I’m feeling right now,” quoted.
Greyson reached a conclusion, even at that young age.
“It was clear that, ‘OK, I’m a pawn in your game.’ So I watched the movie,” he explained.
Weird way to treat a middle school aged singer. Or, you know, a fellow human being of any age.
Ellen would nitpick which clothes Greyson wore.
This transcended professional interest — for example, banning him from wearing leather, as she was vegan at the time.
(She now eats fish and eggs, but apparently her choices also extend to anyone over whom she wields power)
Ellen’s controlling and “degrading” behavior did not last forever.
In 2012, Greyson’s ticket sales dropped, and he says that she basically disappeared.
He would even try calling her without hearing back.
Ellen would have him return to the show, but Greyson recalled: “It was such a fake smile.” Sometimes, they did not even speak backstage.
When Greyson returned to music with Portraits, Ellen of course had him back on the show.
This was 2019. During soundcheck, he said, she hugged him and asked how he had been.
It felt bizarre to him, from a woman who he felt had abandoned him seven years earlier. It felt deeply fake.
Her praise for him coming out publicly as gay also felt hollow and “cheap,” Greyson characterized.
“She had nothing to do with that,” he pointed out. “I hadn’t spoken to her in years.”
“That’s so messed up, that you’re now showing the world as if we’re so tight. We’re so good,” Greyson lamented.
He added: “And behind the scenes, you are this insanely manipulative person.”
In contrast, he affirmed, recently reconnecting with Lady Gaga reminded him of what authentic support and encouragement can look like. What it’s supposed to look like.