Steve Harvey Defends Ellen DeGeneres, Says She's 'One of the Kindest People' in the Business
In an interview with PEOPLE (the TV Show!) that aired on Thursday, Harvey, 63, said DeGeneres is "one of the coolest and kindest people I've met in this business" as he addressed the recent scandal surrounding The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
"I'm going to say this about it: Ellen DeGeneres, the person that I know, that I've known for a number of years, that I saw back in the comedy club days, when we used to split time with the same management, all of this and what's happening now, Ellen, the person, is probably one of the coolest and kindest people I've met in this business," said the STEVE on Watch host when asked about the advice he'd give DeGeneres if she appeared on his show.
In July, BuzzFeed News published a report in which one current and 10 former staffers spoke anonymously about their experiences on the Ellen set, including claims of being penalized for taking medical leave, instances of racial microaggressions and fear of retribution for raising complaints.
DeGeneres, 62, has since apologized to her staff, and three top producers — Ed Glavin, Kevin Leman and Jonathan Norman — have parted ways with the show. Staffers on the show also recently learned that they will now receive increased benefits.
From Harvey's perspective, "people want to take something and make something out of everything," he said. "[Ellen] has no control over what every staff member does, what every producer does, you can't control that. You don't even know some of the stuff that's happening," continued Harvey.
Because "it's her name that's on the show," said Harvey, "she got to take the hit. Something happens over here, I got to take the hit."
Having known DeGeneres for years, Harvey also said that he does not believe she has any "racist tendency."
"I'm a 63-year-old black man. I've been black the entire time. I ain't took no days off. I ain't experimented with nothing else. I ain't got nothing else going. I've been a black dude my whole life. I know racism," he said.
"If I have a conversation with you, I know if you got racist tendency somewhere in you, because it radiates. I can feel it. I've been around a long time, man. That's not Ellen DeGeneres. That's just not her, period," Harvey later said, adding of DeGeneres: "You make it like that if you want to. But if you try to make it that way, it's because you don't know her. I know her. And that's the feeling I have."
Since news of the scandal broke, Harvey said that he and DeGeneres have been in touch, and he's encouraged her to keep her "head up" as she moves forward.
"I've told her, keep your head up. We've texted each other. But my first advice was Ellen got enough money to walk away. But, we're in the cancel culture right now, man, everybody want to see everybody fall down, man. What happened, man?" he said.
He is also confident that DeGeneres will make a positive comeback when the show returns next week.
"People used to cheer for people. Now, it's so important to ruin everybody's career. Get rid of somebody. You know, that's not how it works, but, it is what it is, man," said Harvey. "But I think Ellen's going to be absolutely fine myself. I really do."
In an emotional video conference with staff in August, DeGeneres admitted that she "wasn't perfect," a source who was on the call told PEOPLE.
"I'm a multi-layered person, and I try to be the best person I can be and I try to learn from my mistakes," she said. "I'm hearing that some people felt that I wasn't kind or too short with them, or too impatient. I apologize to anybody if I've hurt your feelings in any way."
Although the daytime talk show was originally expected to return on Wednesday, Sept. 9, it announced earlier this month that season 18 will premiere on Sept. 21.
"I can't wait to get back to work and back to our studio," DeGeneres said in a statement.
The comedian also hinted that she will discuss the show's recent scandal, saying, "Yes, we're gonna talk about it."
STEVE on Watch airs weekdays on Facebook Watch.
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