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Ellen DeGeneres says she's 'extremely sensitive' to the point that it's 'not healthy'

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ellen degeneres
Ellen DeGeneres at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards on Sunday, January 5, 2020. Chris Pizzello/AP
  • Ellen DeGeneres discussed the backlash she faced in 2020 during an interview on Thursday's "Today."

  • She said the allegations against her were "not true" and felt "very misogynistic."

  • DeGeneres described herself as "extremely sensitive" and said the criticism "took a toll" on her.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Ellen DeGeneres spoke about the widespread criticism she faced throughout 2020 during Thursday's episode of "Today."

In her first televised interview since announcing that NBC's "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" will air its final season in 2022, the 63-year-old comedian said allegations detailing her rude and entitled behavior deeply upset her.

"No, I'm not bullet-proof, and no, I don't have thick skin. I'm extremely sensitive to the point of - it's not healthy how sensitive I am," she told "Today" cohost Savannah Guthrie.

DeGeneres added, "When something is coming back at me that I know is not true, I guess I could take one or two of those shots. But four months in a row took a toll on me."

The daytime television host also mentioned that some of the stories about her felt "very misogynistic," though she didn't specify which ones.

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Between accusations that called DeGeneres' character into question and allegations that the program had an unhealthy work environment, the comedian told Guthrie that she considered quitting the show ahead of the season 18 premiere in September.

Ultimately, DeGeneres decided to stick with the hosting gig, kicking off the season by addressing toxic-workplace allegations in her opening monologue.

"How can I be an example of strength and perseverance and power if I give up and run away? It really is one of the reasons I came back," she told Guthrie. "I worked really hard on myself."

Ellen Degeneres show
Ellen DeGeneres during a taping of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" on May 24, 2016. Brooks Kraft/Getty Images

During the "Today" interview, DeGeneres also said she was stunned to learn that employees felt disrespected or unhappy on set.

"I really didn't understand it. I still don't understand it. It was too orchestrated. It was too coordinated," she said, explaining that "every guest" she's interacted with on the show has raved to her about its "happy atmosphere."

Still, she said she felt compelled to assume responsibility for any wrongdoing since the program bears her name.

After Buzzfeed News published a report in which current and former staffers said they faced "racism, fear, and intimidation" while working at "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," the host wrote a letter (obtained by The Hollywood Reporter) to employees saying that she was "disappointed to learn" they didn't feel valued. She admitted that she had been unable to "stay on top of everything" as the team expanded.

The comedian didn't address the accusations about her behavior in the letter, however.

Ellen Degeneres
Ellen DeGeneres poses on the press room at the 2016 People's Choice Awards at Microsoft Theater on January 6, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

When DeGeneres announced that her show will end in 2022, she said the controversy that erupted last year didn't play a role in her decision.

"It almost impacted the show. It was very hurtful to me. I mean, very. But if I was quitting the show because of that, I wouldn't have come back this season," she told The Hollywood Reporter.

Instead, DeGeneres said she has known the show's 19th season would be its last, pointing to the three-year contract she signed toward the end of season 16.

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