'She'd call me stupid, fat': Ellen DeGeneres accused of bullying 11yo boy

'She'd call me stupid, fat': Ellen DeGeneres accused of bullying 11yo boy
Photo credit: Ben Gravolet, Getty

Ellen DeGeneres has been accused of bullying an 11-year-old boy about his weight in the late 1970s by a now 52-year-old man who claims she "took pleasure" in his distress as a child. 

Ben Gravolet told the Daily Mail a 20-year-old DeGeneres used to call him "fat and stupid" when she worked with his mother at a recruitment agency where he would visit. 

Gravolet said DeGeneres would "criticize his weight and clothes" and tell him: "You might want to lose some of that weight, chunky boy," when he would do his homework at the office. 

"I would dread going to [my mom's] office to see her after school or on a day if I was sick and Ellen was there," Gravolet told the UK tabloid. 

"I was just a boy and this was a grown woman who took pleasure in seeing me become visibly upset." 

The accusations come amid a growing number of complaints against the daytime talk show host and The Ellen Show, including allegations from staff of a "toxic" work environment where there have been claims of bullying, racism and sexual harassment. 

Gravolet dubbed DeGeneres "the meanest, nastiest, most horrible person", claiming her insults about his appearance had a long-lasting impact on him. 

"I don't think there's any excuse for it. I was a defenseless kid. What could I have told her back?" he said. 

"It has an effect if somebody in a superior position to you, who's much older, goes 'You're fat'... I was always self conscious about my weight and it made things worse." 

When news broke that The Ellen DeGeneres Show would undergo an internal investigation by ArnerMedia, the host penned a memo to staff acknowledging the issues at the show and insisting steps were being taken to correct them.