Ellen DeGeneres is currently facing a heap of criticism online after pulling a prank on Kim Kardashian that left her so distraught that she walked off set entirely.
Kim, who has a serious yearslong fear of spiders, made a guest appearance on The Ellen Show this week, where she initially sat alongside the host as they discussed the concept of getting spooked by different things.
Soon enough, Kim began looking around suspiciously, clearly wary of Ellen’s notorious habit of scaring her guests.
“I’m not gonna scare you,” Ellen tells her. “But I do wanna help you get over something, because you’re scared—”
Before Ellen even finishes her sentence, Kim interjects: “No! No, no, no.”
“You’re scared of spiders,” Ellen continues. Kim says, “No, we’re not. We’re absolutely not. You’re not doing this to me. I’m never gonna get over it.”
“It’s not loose. It’s not a loose spider,” Ellen says as she unveils a terrarium, which appears to contain a huge spider inside, to gasps from the audience.
Kim, now leaping up from her seat, screams: “No! No, we’ve been through this before. I don’t care — I don’t care to get over my fear. I don’t care.”
Ellen, clearly unaffected by the fact that Kim looks visibly terrified and has backed away, relentlessly continues: “What if I hold it?”
“Absolutely not,” Kim firmly replies. “What if I just hold it?!” Ellen asks again, to which Kim clearly repeats: “No, no, no.”
Ellen says, “What if I just...” before throwing the apparent spider at Kim, who — unsurprisingly — screams and runs far from the host. “STOP,” she yells. “Stop.”
As the viewers in the audience giggle and cheer, clearly entertained by Kim’s terror, Ellen laughs as she reveals: “It’s not real!”
Taking a moment to compose herself, Kim ultimately walks off stage. “Bye everyone!” she says as she waves to the seated viewers.
As you might be aware, Kim’s fear of spiders goes back years and years and has actually been documented numerous times throughout Keeping Up With The Kardashians’s 14-year run.
Back in the very first season, in fact, Kim memorably freaked out during a family vacation to Mexico after her mom, Kris Jenner, tells her, “Kim, there’s a spider on you.”
The beauty mogul ran away screaming in fear before breaking down into tears entirely, much to the shock of all those around her, including her siblings and a mariachi band.
Over a decade later, in Season 19, Kim found herself in a huge predicament when her daughter North developed a love for spiders and really wanted a pet tarantula.
“North has brought up several times now that she wants a pet spider,” Kim said in a confessional. “That is absolutely never gonna happen.”
In the episode, Kim’s sister Khloé urges her to get over her fear by acquiring a caged tarantula, which Kim miraculously manages to hold at arm's length. Her attempt to face her fear purely for her daughter’s happiness was ultimately praised by viewers.
With all this in mind, Ellen’s latest prank on Kim has raised several eyebrows from viewers, many of whom have called out the host for seemingly capitalizing off of her fear.
“Wow. Way to respect her boundaries. Respect to Kim for walking out,” one Instagram user wrote. “That’s so mean. Not funny at all,” commented another.
“Ellen you don’t know how scary this [is] for someone who has a phobia,” one person pointed out. Another echoed, “Not cool to provoke someone when you know they have a real phobia. Ellen once again has no respect for boundaries. No means no. Why make people uncomfortable?”
Someone added, “That is rude. I would have left too. She said stop and no how many times! Ellen knew her fear beforehand and didn’t respect that nor her attempt at stopping her. UNCOOL.”
“Go Kim! I'd have done the same exact thing. Respect people's boundaries,” commented another. “‘I don't care to get over my fear’ says it all. She composed herself and waved graciously. Well done, Kim!”
Meanwhile, several fans on Instagram chimed in to voice their frustration at Ellen's apparent lack of respect for people’s boundaries.
“Why does Ellen feel like she can do this to someone?” one questioned. “This is just rude,” another wrote.
What’s more, this isn’t the first time that Ellen has pulled a spider-related prank on Kim. “Don’t ever scare me with a spider,” the mogul told the host during a 2018 appearance on the show, to which Ellen replied, “That’s exactly what we’re gonna do!”
During that episode, Kim told Ellen, “I’m deathly afraid of spiders. Don’t try me right now.” Unfazed, Ellen pretended she had a spider cupped between her hands and inched toward Kim in a bid to frighten her.
“Stop, stop, stop, STOP,” Kim yelled as she ran away from her seat. “My dress is falling off.”
“It’s tiny,” Ellen said of the apparent spider in her hands. Completely terrified, Kim backed her way into the audience to get away, but Ellen continued to chase her.
“Stop, my dress is falling off!” Kim exclaimed once again while several audience members leaped up in fear as well.
As it turned out, Ellen was only pretending to hold a spider to scare Kim. Several viewers quickly voiced their displeasure at the clip, suggesting that Ellen should have at least stopped when Kim announced that her dress was slipping down.
“I felt bad for Kim. Ellen should've [stopped] when her dress was falling off. And she [shouldn't have] made fun of her phobia,” one person wrote.