The Ellen DeGeneres Show Is Reportedly Under Internal Investigation Due To Workplace Complaints

The Ellen DeGeneres Show Is Reportedly Under Internal Investigation Due To Workplace Complaints

Current and former staffers will reportedly be interviewed about their experiences on set.

Image Source: Getty Images/People's Choice Awards 2017 at Microsoft Theater on January 18, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Ellen DeGeneres' famous talk show is reportedly under internal review after multiple employees alleged that the workplace environment was a hostile one. The Ellen DeGeneres Show will undergo an internal investigation by WarnerMedia, reported Variety and The Hollywood Reporter. A memo was sent to Ellen Show staffers last week announcing they have engaged WarnerMedia’s employee relations group and a third-party firm by Telepictures and Warner Bros. TV executives. Current and former staffers will reportedly be interviewed about their experiences on set. The recent articles about the issue were cited as the reason for the investigation. 


According to BuzzFeed News, one current employee and 10 ex-employees reportedly spoke anonymously about their experiences on set, including claims of being penalized for taking medical leave, instances of racial microaggressions, and fear of retribution for raising complaints. “That ‘be kind’ bullshit only happens when the cameras are on. It’s all for show,” one former employee said. “I know they give money to people and help them out, but it’s for show.” Employees said that they were fired for taking leaves, even if they were for medical reasons or bereavement days. 


Also, they were instructed not to talk to DeGeneres if they saw her at work. While the blame mostly fell on the executive producers and other senior managers for the toxicity, one former employee said that, ultimately, it’s Ellen’s name on the show and “she really needs to take more responsibility” for the workplace environment. “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 former employee said. “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.”


After the allegations, executive producers Ed Glavin, Mary Connelly, and Andy Lassner said they take the stories of the employees "very seriously" via a joint statement. "Over the course of nearly two decades, 3,000 episodes, and employing over 1000 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 doing better, and we will do better."


There have been instances of racism as well. A Black woman who used to work on The Ellen DeGeneres Show revealed that she experienced racist comments, actions, and “microaggressions” during the year and a half she worked there. She said when she was hired, a senior-level producer told her and another Black employee, “Oh wow, you both have box braids; I hope we don’t get you confused.” And at a work party, she said, one of the main writers told her, “I’m sorry, I only know the names of the white people who work here,” and other coworkers “awkwardly laughed it off” instead of coming to her defense.


When she started to speak up about the discrimination, she said, all of her colleagues distanced themselves from her. “Whenever I brought up an issue to my white male boss, he would bring up some random story about some random Black friend that he had and how they managed to get over stuff,” she said. “He would use his Black friend as some way to say, ‘I understand your struggle.’ But it was all performative bullshit.” No specific allegations were made against DeGeneres, 62, who has hosted the program since 2003. DeGeneres has yet to make a statement about the allegations.






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