Rumours of toxic workplace culture have sparked something of a downfall for TV host Ellen DeGeneres and her team.
The host, known for her end-of-broadcast catchphrase, “Be kind to one another”, has come under fire for reportedly being anything but, with accusations that she is “cold and distant”, as originally called out in a Twitter thread that labelled her “one of the meanest people alive”.
Most recently, DeGeneres has been accused by former crew members of not communicating with them about payment during the coronavirus shutdown. Staffers on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, as well as executive producers, are also copping flack for “bullying, micro-aggression and racism.”
On November 16, it was announced that DeGeneres had won an award for ‘Best Daytime Talk Show’ at the E! People’s Choice ceremony where she thanked her staff for her success.
“I am not only accepting this award for myself, I’m accepting it on behalf of my amazing crew, my staff who make the show possible,” she said.
“They show up every single day, they give 100% of themselves, 100% of the time.
“That’s 250 people, times 170 shows a year, times 18 years if you carry the 2 and divide it by 11 … My point is, I love them all and I thank them for what they do every single day to help that show be the best that we try to make it every single day.”
Ellen DeGeneres Publicly Apologises — Calls Herself a “Work in Progress”
Update: September 22, 2020
DeGeneres returned to the set of her TV show on September 21 and delivered an apology to mark the beginning of the 18th season.
During a five-minute monologue, the 62-year-old addressed the workplace rumours and investigation, which ultimately led to a dramatic fall from grace earlier this year.
“How was everybody’s summer? Good? Yeah? Mine was great,” she said before holding her two thumbs up. “Super terrific.”
“If you’re watching because you love me, thank you,” she said. “If you’re watching because you don’t love me, welcome.”
DeGeneres called herself a “work in progress” and said, that while there were many facets to her, she was still “the person you see on TV”.
She continued by saying there was “a lot of things I want to talk about, I’ve been looking forward to addressing it all directly,” however, the coronavirus pandemic has made it difficult.
“As you may have heard this summer there were allegations of a toxic work environment at our show and then there was an investigation. I learned that things happened here that never should’ve happened,” she said. “I take that very seriously, and I want to say I’m so sorry to the people who were affected.”
DeGeneres heralded this as a new chapter, however, admitted that sometimes she is “impatient” and gets “mad”. She also said that being the “be kind lady” comes with a set of challenges and is “a tricky position to be in”.
“Sometimes I get sad. I get mad. I get anxious. I get frustrated. I get impatient. And I am working on all of that. I am a work in progress.
“And I am especially working on the impatience thing because… and it’s not going well because it’s not happening fast enough.”
“I am in a position of privilege and power and I realise that with that comes responsibility. I take that responsibility for what happens at my show. This is The Ellen DeGeneres Show. I am Ellen DeGeneres.”
“This is me,” she added before saying, “My intention is to always be the best person I can be. And if I’ve ever let someone down, if I’ve ever hurt their feelings, I am so sorry for that.
“If that’s ever the case, I’ve let myself down and I’ve hurt myself as well.”
After the monologue, DeGeneres went on with the show.
You can watch the full apology below.
Today we’re starting a new chapter. pic.twitter.com/PvpZXnXLv5
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) September 21, 2020
Ellen DeGeneres Will Address Fans on Her Talk Show
Update: August 25, 2020
The Nine Network has pulled the Ellen DeGeneres show from their lineup with the 12 pm to 1 pm slot being filled with re-runs of Desperate Housewives.
According to The Daily Mail, “discussions between Nine and Warner Bros. regarding broadcast rights for the upcoming season, which begins next month, are said to be ‘ongoing'”, however, you can still catch the show on 9Gem.
In a statement to News.com.au, a spokesperson confirmed the change.
“We are resting Ellen repeats on Nine and have replaced with Desperate Housewives,” they said, however, they denied it had been “axed”.
“Nine haven’t axed anything – we have been playing repeats on Nine which will continue on 9Gem. Discussions are ongoing regarding the new series.”
As for DeGeneres herself, she will address the ordeal with her fans when the show starts up production again.
The 62-year-old was stopped by paparazzi after leaving a restaurant overnight and was asked how she would address the allegations and subsequent sacking of staff. In a video obtained by The Daily Mail she said: “I will be talking to my fans.”
Last Thursday, DeGeneres’ team sent an email to staff addressing the internal investigation. According to The Independent, the statement said that management was “disappointed” by the findings of the inquiry which is still ongoing.
“We are disappointed that the primary findings of the investigation indicated some deficiencies related to the show’s day-to-day management,” it read.
Ellen DeGeneres Show Offers Work Perks to Staff Amid Workplace Scandal
Update: August 25, 2020
On August 25, DeGeneres offered up some work perks to her staff after three top producers lost their jobs.
According to Page Six, staff have been offered “an additional five days to what they were already receiving” and “a generous medical leave policy”.
The outlet reported that executive producers, Andy Lassner (who frequents the talk-show) and Mary Connelly delivered the news, which was something DeGeneres herself “felt strongly” about, given the team produce upwards of 170 shows per year.
The new package also includes birthdays off and paid time for medical appointments and family matters.
As stated by the outlet, these new perks and DeGeneres’ address of her team has “improved morale on set”.
While rumours have been floating that the show will not continue, according to Page Six, it “clearly” isn’t going anywhere and staffers have returned to work to “wake up production offices and sound stages”.
Three Top Ellen DeGeneres Show Producers Leave Amid Internal Investigation
Update: August 18, 2020
After an internal investigation, a spokesperson for Warner Bros Television made the announcement that three top tier producers have left the show.
Executive producers Ed Glavin and Kevin Leman and co-executive producer Jonathan Norman have “parted ways” with the show.
According to Variety, DeGeneres spoke to her staff via Zoom on Monday with an “apologetic and emotional address”.
The outlet reported that multiple sources said that she told them she was “not perfect” and that it was “heartbreaking” to read the allegations about the atmosphere of her show.
She also admitted that for the show to run like a “well-oiled machine,” sometimes the leaders put in place were not as sensitive to “human beings” as they should have been.
‘The Ellen DeGeneres’ Show Is Under Investigation Following Toxic Workplace Accusations
On July 28, Variety reported that The Ellen DeGeneres Show is under internal investigation by WarnerMedia, following “numerous accounts of workplace problems”.
The outlet reported that Telepictures and Warner Bros — the show’s producers — sent a memo to employees of the show, announcing that they have engaged a third-party firm who will interview former and current team members about their experiences on set.
Back in July, Buzzfeed published an article which interviewed former staffers about their experiences on the show.
The outlet reported that “behind the scenes, current and former employees on her leading daytime show say they faced racism, fear, and intimidation”.
One former employee said that the “‘be kind’ bullshit only happens when the cameras are on. It’s all for show” and that even giving “money to people” is “for show”.
Buzzfeed spoke to one current and 10 former employees in total, all of whom asked to remain anonymous.
While DeGeneres herself has received bad press as of late, the previous staff actually “blamed executive producers and other senior managers for the day-to-day toxicity”.
“If she wants to have her own show and have her name on the show title, she needs to be more involved to see what’s going on,” one source told them.
“I think the executive producers surround her and tell her, ‘Things are going great, everybody’s happy,’ and she just believes that, but it’s her responsibility to go beyond that.”
Executive producers Ed Galvin, Mary Connelly and Andy Lassner told Buzzfeed that they are taking the accusations “very seriously”.
“Over the course of nearly two decades, 3,000 episodes, and employing over 1,000 staff members, we have strived to create an open, safe, and inclusive work environment,” they said. “We are truly heartbroken and sorry to learn that even one person in our production family has had a negative experience. It’s not who we are and not who we strive to be, and not the mission Ellen has set for us.
“For the record, the day to day responsibility of the Ellen show is completely on us. We take all of this very seriously and we realize, as many in the world are learning, that we need to do better, are committed to do better, and we will do better.”
Read the full Buzzfeed exposé here.