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Ellen DeGeneres catches audience member stealing – and publicly shames her for it

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Kayleigh Dray
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Whether you’re a fan of the 10 commandments or not, we all know that stealing is wrong. So, when Ellen DeGeneres caught an audience member swiping merchandise from her show, she decided to make an example of her.

That’s right: DeGeneres is famed the world over for her warmth, kindness, funniness, and impeccable comic timing, but it turns out she has a secret strict side.



Earlier this week, the TV host set up a table of Ellen-branded merchandise outside the entrance to the studio for The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Audience members were told that there was enough for them to each take one thing from the display, much to their delight – but they had no idea that, nestled closely near the table, were a selection of hidden cameras.

Despite being unaware that DeGeneres’ eye was upon them, most people were incredibly honest: one woman even struggled to choose between two items, but eventually placed one back on the table, telling her friend that she would buy one for herself later.

However there was one “bad apple” amongst them.

Check it out:

The woman was filmed making sure that nobody was watching her, before enlisting a partner-in-crime to help her stash as many merch items as possible.

DeGeneres later played the clip back to the audience, rewarding those who were honest – and punishing those who had not been with a trip to “Ellen Jail” (as well as, y’know, a hefty dose of public shame).

Naturally, this skit had mixed responses on Twitter.



Some were appalled at DeGeneres’ scheming, with one writing: “Yeah, Ellen. Embarrass the plebs. Not condoning the extra taking, but seriously? That was so unnecessary.”

Another added: “So you give people stuff and shame them. Pretty sure 50% of the population out there would have done the same. Not that I support stealing.”

“She’s losing it,” said one particularly scathing social media user, adding (much to the chagrin Ellen fans everywhere): “She needs to retire.”

But, for the most part, people were firmly on Team DeGeneres.

The 'thief' was unperturbed by being put into 'Ellen Jail'

The 'thief' was unperturbed by being put into 'Ellen Jail'

“Thieves should be embarrassed, humiliated, and called out for their dishonesty,” raged one. “That is necessary.”

“People need to stop taking advantage,” agreed another. “They were offered a gift and they felt they deserved more.”

One pointed out: “I hate how people just laughed this off! She's clearly not a nice person by taking advantage of Ellen's kindness.”

And one stated firmly: “I loved the fact she called her out! She would probably handle it similarly privately, though. She's a swell lady.”

Hmm? Top tip, everyone: if you’re going to be part of a live TV audience, assume that there will be cameras watching your every move.

And, y’know, don’t steal. That’s not cool.

Images: EllenTube

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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