Greyson Chance, the young musician who rose to fame after his YouTube-posted performance of Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi” went viral in April 2010 and was invited to appear on The Ellen DeGeneres Showsaid in a new interview that he felt trauma from the way the host treated him.
“I’ve never met anyone more manipulative, more self-centered and more blatantly opportunistic than she,” he said. Rolling Stone in an article published Thursday, when he released his new album, Palladium.
Through a representative, DeGeneres declined to comment on the Rolling Stone interview or the Yahoo Entertainment story.
Chance, who is now 25, was just 12 years old when he became the internet buzz. DeGeneres called a week later and took his first plane ride from Oklahoma to Los Angeles, California, where he said DeGeneres assured him and his mother Lisa that they would “do this together”. The A-list star, who was making a foray into the music business, connected Chance to an entire team of people and, more importantly, signed him to his new label, which is distributed by Interscope Geffen A&M Records.
But Chance told the magazine that DeGeneres had “become too domineering and controlling.” For example, it stipulated what he wore and what he didn’t; no leather since she is vegan.
“She would walk in and look at a rack, yell at stylists, scold people in front of me and say, ‘This is what you’re wearing to the show,'” Chance said. “She was just degrading people.”
In one case, the artist and his mother said she scolded the two over the phone after he failed to watch the Justin Bieber documentary she asked him to see, when he didn’t because he was tired of touring.
Some of Chance’s words echo what employees of the former DeGeneres talk show claimed in a July 2020 report from BuzzFeed. they called Ellen a toxic workplace where fear and intimidation were the norm. DeGeneres apologized at the show afterwards.
“I learned that things happened here that should never have happened. I take this very seriously and I want to say that I feel sorry for the people who were affected,” she said. “I know I am in a position of privilege and power and I realize that with that comes responsibility and I take responsibility for what happens on my show.”
In 2012, when Ellen was still on the air, Chance’s second album was bombed and ticket sales plummeted. He was dropped by the record company and its staff.
That’s when he said DeGeneres “completely abandoned him” and didn’t even return his calls.
“I couldn’t talk to her. I couldn’t talk to her,” Chance said. “Whenever I was on the show, it was such a fake smile. She didn’t even ask, ‘How are you? How are you?’ It was like, ‘Here’s what we’re going to talk about. See you there.'”
But someone from her show got in touch with him at some point, because he showed up after he left the label. (In all, he’s been on the DeGeneres stage 10 times over the years, twice since 2012, according to IMDb.) When he performed there in 2015, he said the two didn’t say anything backstage. Still, he returned in 2019 to promote a new album, portraits.
A source from the show pointed out that Chance had not made any complaints at the time.
He said he was unhappy, however, especially on that final visit.
“She came out during soundcheck and she looked at me, she hugged me. And she said, ‘How are you?’ And it killed me inside,” Chance said, “because I was like, ‘What do you mean how have I been? Where have you been?’
He didn’t like her saying during the interview that she was proud of him for coming out as gay since the last time they spoke.
“She had nothing to do with it… [When I came out,] I haven’t talked to her in years,” he said. “This is so confusing, that now you’re showing the world how close we are. We are so good. And behind the scenes, you’re this insanely manipulative person.”
Afterwards, Chance said that while grateful for what DeGeneres did for him early in his career, he turned down offers to be a part of Ellenlast season. He knew the move meant less publicity, but he had to do it for his integrity.