On her Emmy-winning daytime talk show, Ellen DeGeneres often (if not always) ends an episode with the sign-off “be kind to one another.” However, it’s been a not-so-secret secret that the set of her long-running show is a toxic, unfriendly environment to work in.
In an exclusive report Monday from Variety, the workplace at The Ellen DeGeneres Show is the subject of an internal investigation. Per the site, “WarnerMedia’s employee relations group and a third-party firm” will be interviewing current and former staff members about their experiences working on the show. The third-party group’s name has not been disclosed.
This development comes after Buzzfeed News released a report on July 16 about the culture behind-the-scenes of The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Black employees came forward with allegations of “microaggressions and racism” at the hands of producers and other coworkers, and a story about an employee being fired for taking medical leave after a suicide attempt was one of the many jarring instances of toxicity chronicled in the damning write-up. If you have the time (and let’s be real, you do), I definitely recommend reading it.
In the exposé, former employees also called out DeGeneres herself for not calling out the toxicity if she is aware of what happens to those working under her.
“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 proclaims. “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.”
While DeGeneres herself has not commented on the report, producers at the show issued a statement to USA Today last week.
“We are truly heartbroken and sorry to learn that even one person in our production family has had a negative experience,” the statement read. “It’s not who we are and not who we strive to be, and not the mission Ellen has set for us.” In April, Variety reported that DeGeneres’ 30 person stage crew was experiencing poor communication over “the status of their working hours, pay, or inquiries about their mental and physical health” during the beginnings of the pandemic, and hadn’t heard from producers for over a month at that point.
Well, there are a lot of people who are reportedly dancing a jig over the report, noting that public interest in the open secret has been years in the making. (Full disclosure: I’d heard about it long ago). Per Us Weekly, a source “connected to the talk show’s production” claims that employees have been gleefully going back and forth about “the truth” finally coming out.
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