Former Black ‘Ellen’ Worker Says She Suffered Racism On Set + Employees Slam Alleged ‘Toxic’ Work Environment: That ‘Be Kind’ BS Is All For Show

Ellen Degeneres

Former Black ‘Ellen’ Worker Says She Suffered Racism On Set + Employees Slam Alleged ‘Toxic’ Work Environment: That ‘Be Kind’ BS Is All For Show

After employees reportedly expressed frustration with limited communication regarding their pay during the COVID-19 shutdown – several former employees of the “Ellen” show say the comedienne’s set is a toxic work environment. Anonymous out of fear of retaliation, several former colleagues involved with Ellen Degeneres‘ talk show spoke to Buzzfeed News about the alleged facade the veteran host portrays to the public while employees are allegedly mistreated.  One said,

“That ‘be kind’ bullsh*t only happens when the cameras are on. It’s all for show. I know they give money to people and help them out, but it’s for show.”

Another commented:

“They hire people who maybe are inexperienced with how a functional, nontoxic work environment actually is, or someone who just wants to be in that atmosphere so bad that they’ll put up with it. They kind of feed off of that, like, ‘This is Ellen; this is as good as it gets. You’ll never find anything better than this.’”

A Black woman spoke up on her year-and-a-half-long employment at “Ellen,” saying she experienced several rounds of racism at the hands of senior-level executives at the show. She recalled:

“I was told, ‘Oh wow, you both have box braids; I hope we don’t get you confused.’ [And at a work party, one of the writers said,] ‘I’m sorry, I only know the names of the white people who work here.'”

She continued,

“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. He would use his Black friend as some way to say, ‘I understand your struggle.’ But it was all performative bullsh*t.”

The anonymous former employee said speaking up has different implications when you’re Black:

“I feel like I’m not alone in this. We all feel this. We’ve been feeling this way, but I’ve been too afraid to say anything because everyone knows what happens when you say something as a Black person. You’re blacklisted.”

Another former worker for Ellen Degeneres said they checked into a mental health facility for nearly a year after a suicide attempt, only to return to no job:

“You’d think that if someone just tried to kill themselves, you don’t want to add any more stress to their lives…Some of the producers talk openly in public about addiction and mental health awareness, but they’re the reason there’s a stigma. They definitely don’t practice what they preach with the ‘be kind’ mantra.”

The “Ellen” show’s executive producers – Ed Glavin, Mary Connelly, and Andy Lassner – issued this joint statement to Buzzfeed News:

“[We are taking these claims] very seriously…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. 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.”

What do you think about the claims of a toxic work environment at the “Ellen” show? Tell us in the comments.

Authored by: Miata Shanay