Sarah Do Couto
In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Chance, now 25, spoke about his former mentor DeGeneres for the first time, saying he’s “never met someone more manipulative, more self-absorbed, and more blatantly opportunistic.”
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Although Chance told the outlet that DeGeneres played a very important role early in his career, he said the talk show host “completely abandoned him” later on.
As of this writing, DeGeneres has not publicly responded to Chance’s claims. A representative of Ellen’s show told People that DeGeneres and her team “went beyond to help him succeed, but in business it doesn’t always work out and his career hasn’t taken off.
Chance met DeGeneres after she asked him to appear on Ellen’s show to discuss the video of his cover of Lady Gaga Paparazzi – a tremulously taped performance in the Chance Middle School gymnasium in Oklahoma when he was in 6th grade. The video has 71 million views.
Chance said when he and his mother arrived at Ellen’s show, DeGeneres told Chance’s mom, “You’ll never have to work a day in your life again.”
He was the first artist to be signed to DeGeneres’ label, Eleven Eleven. Chance was set up with top talent managers and a team of staff, including a booking agent, publicist and branding agent, all in the hopes that he could become the next Justin Bieber.
For Rolling Stone, Chance claimed DeGeneres was a “hidden eye” early in his career, heavily controlling the boy’s touring and press schedules, clothing and activities.
He alleged DeGeneres yelled at him and his mother on the phone when he hadn’t watched a preview of Bieber’s upcoming tour documentary. Never say never. Chance said that when he — at the time, a miner who worked 14 to 16 hour days — couldn’t find time to watch the documentary, DeGeneres aggressively berated him over the phone.
“I’ll never forget that,” Chance told Rolling Stone. “I just remember hearing the other side of the phone, just yelling (and) scolding, ‘What kind of mother are you? Do you realize that I’ve done everything I can to get it for you and he can’t sit down and watch it?
When Chance’s 2012 EP The truth must be told, part 1 underperformed, DeGeneres would have disappeared from her life altogether, along with the team she had organized for him at the label.
Lisa Chance, Chance’s mother, told Rolling Stone that she thinks DeGeneres is a “businesswoman” above anything else.
“If something doesn’t go her way, she’s going to call it quits because it’s her business. It’s not warm and fuzzy,” Chance’s mother said. she invited people into her life or took someone under her wing like she did if she didn’t want to see something come out of it. If it wasn’t going fast enough for her, that’s when she started shutting down or excluding us.
Chance isn’t the first person to accuse DeGeneres of unsavory behavior. A Buzzfeed talk in 2020, DeGeneres allegedly berated employees and was responsible for creating a “toxic work environment” in the television studio. FromGeneres addressed the allegations in the last season of Ellen’s Show and apologized to “those affected”.
Chance appeared on Ellen’s Show even after his falling out with DeGeneres (and a break from music) in 2019. During the TV show, she praised the young singer for coming out as gay. Chance said that after years of not contacting congratulations seemed “cheap”.
Chance said he was repeatedly asked to return to Ellen’s Show in his final season, despite declining all invitations for his “integrity”.
On Twitter, Chance shared a link to the Rolling Stone article (which he says is the only time he’ll speak publicly about DeGeneres). He claimed his new album, Palladium, “forced me to look dead in the eyes of my past and come to terms with what I went through as a child.”
“The first part of my career, I owe him a lot of thanks and this team. But the reason I’m here today to talk about an album is that I don’t owe him anything,” said Luck at Rolling Stone “Because I had to pick myself up. She was nowhere to be found.”
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