Rosie O’Donnell put the final nail in the coffin of her “Queen of Nice” persona with her antics behind the scenes at “The Rosie Show.”
The program, meant to boost the flailing OWN network, got canceled on Friday. And now we’re starting to learn some of the reasons why, according to The Daily Beast:
Through all the changes, some 30 employees from producers to writers had left because of budget cuts and possibly because of a boss who couldn’t decide what she wanted and frequently humiliated them in public. “It was such a fucking hellhole,” says one former staffer.
O’Donnell’s bullying behavior included belittling her colleagues.
Several staffers were very upset when O’Donnell clashed with Winfrey’s longtime director Joe Terry (who has since been hired by Katie, the forthcoming Katie Couric talk show). People thought she humiliated him when she scolded him in front of a live audience for using the wrong camera shots, suggesting he didn’t know what he was doing. She fired Winfrey’s stage manager because she felt like he was ignoring her and not doing his job properly. But some of her biggest fights were with “the games department.” She couldn’t decide what she wanted–The Price Is Right, physical games, or trivia–and was constantly belittling the people who worked on them.
The comedienne came out as a lesbian years ago and has been a vocal supporter of gay rights ever since. But The Daily Beast contends O’Donnell was too focused on gay issues, even for her hardcore fan base.
There was another tricky problem. Market research had indicated that even the show’s gay-friendly audience was tiring of all the gay references and hearing O’Donnell talk about being a lesbian, but O’Donnell disregarded that critique. On a recent Friday night, she advertised on Twitter that she was doing a special where she talked about being gay in America. The show ended up being an interview with Randy Roberts Potts, the grandson of televangelist Oral Roberts, and it featured clips of Rosie talking to her staff about coming out. During another episode, she implied on TV that one of the younger staff members was gay, when he had never talked about his sexual orientation. The incident left him upset and embarrassed.