Alec Baldwin threw his support behind embattled daytime talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres Wednesday in a segment shot before her on-air apology to staff Monday.
"I just want to say that … I have followed your career from when you were doing stand-up and you were a solo performer, and I've watched the films you've done and I've watched your success on this TV show, and you are one of the funniest, most talented women — one of the most funny and talented people — in all of show business," the Amityville-born and Massapequa-raised Emmy Award winner, 62, told DeGeneres via remote video from his home on Long Island, where is family is isolating during the coronavirus pandemic.
"And we all have some patches of whitewater here," he added, likening her current travails to navigating a boat through difficult river rapids, "but you keep going. Don't you stop doing what you're doing."
"That means so much to me," DeGeneres, also 62, responded. "I appreciate it. Yeah, there has [sic] been some rapids and I am maneuvering the raft," she agreed. "But thank you so much for saying that."
Baldwin also took the opportunity to bring on his wife, Hilaria, and their newborn son, Eduardo Pau Lucas Baldwin, who arrived on Sept. 8. The couple, who have four other children together under age 8, said he was nine days old, placing the recording of the segment on Sept. 17.
That would predate DeGeneres' monologue Monday in which she apologized on air to her syndicated show's 270 employees, some of whom, as documented in a July BuzzFeed News article, had faced hostile and capricious managers, racist undercurrents, termination after taking time off for medical or bereavement reasons, and being forbidden to speak with DeGeneres herself.
Some of those who had spoken with BuzzFeed told the outlet in a story posted Monday that the apology felt self-serving. "It's always tactical," one current employee said. "The average person will listen to it and make their own choices, but what people don't always take into account is that information is power, and she's sharing it now because it's for premiere week and it's to get viewers back, and that just feels the opposite of what this message is about."
Former staffers felt she had made the apology about herself, and that her joking about the issue during her monologue was inappropriate.
"Not only did Ellen turn my trauma, turn our traumas, into a joke, she somehow managed to make this about her," one former employee said. The same person or another former employee told BuzzFeed: "When you're talking about people who have accused her leadership of the seriousness of sexual misconduct," referring to July reports that at least three of DeGeneres' executive producers had allegedly sexually harassed staff members, "I don't think it's appropriate to have jokes in the monologue."
Representatives for DeGeneres' show had no comment.