Ellen DeGeneres announces she’s looking for a special co-host as thousands sign petition calling for her to quit

Ellen DeGeneres

Ellen DeGeneres is giving a fan the chance to be her co-host and raise money for coronavirus relief, just as thousands have signed a petition to have her replaced.

She has joined the ALL IN Challenge, created by Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro, which aims to raise money to battle food insecurity during the coronavirus pandemic.

The ALL IN Challenge allows people to donate to Meals on Wheels, No Kid Hungry and America’s Food Fund, and be in with the chance of winning “once-in-a-lifetime experiences”.

DeGeneres said that anyone who donates at least $25 will get the chance to be her co-host on The Ellen Show.

She said: “You’ll spend the day in the studio, learn how we produce it… You’ll get to be next to me when I do the monologue and help me interview some amazing A-list celebrities.”

“I’m going to challenge my friends Justin Timberlake and Laura Dern to join the ALL IN Challenge because I love them and I know that they want to help,” she added.

DeGeneres said that she would also be making a personal donation.

“Finally, I have been so devastated seeing all the people lined up waiting for food,” she continued.

“Every time I see those cars and those people, I cry. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be sitting for hours and hours waiting to get food, and hoping there’s even going to be any left by the time you get there. It’s heartbreaking. And it’s overwhelming.

“I’ve already given to some of my favourite charities, including Direct Relief, because so many people need money.

“But today, Portia and I are personally donating $1 million to Meals on Wheels, No Kid Hungry and America’s Food Fund.

“I usually don’t talk about my personal donations, it’s something I keep private, but I’m really hoping that this inspires anyone who’s in a position to help, to help. Because there’s a lot of need out there.”

Ellen DeGeneres has been embroiled in controversy in recent weeks.

This week almost 8,000 people signed a petition to have Ellen Degeneres replaced with Ellen Page as the host of The Ellen Show, following revelations that the ever-positive talkshow host may not be so nice after all.

Last month, comic Kevin Porter described her as “one of the meanest people alive”, and then encouraged Twitter users to share their “insane stories” about DeGeneres’s, pledging to match each one with a $2 donation to LA Food Bank.

The damning thread hoarded hundreds of unverified stories of the daytime talk show host’s behaviour claimed by apparent ex-employees as well as Los Angeles locals, seemingly at odds with her hyper-positive and generous reputation.

Less than two weeks later, things went from bad to worse when DeGeneres opened her first quarantine episode of The Ellen Show from home with a tone deaf joke about being queer in jail.

She said, from her $27 million mansion: “This is like being in jail, is what it is. It’s mostly because I’ve been wearing the same clothes for ten days and everyone in here is gay.”

Although DeGeneres later quietly removed that section of the show, she has yet to address the incident or apologise.