Rumours of a 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.”
Now, according to Variety, 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.