Ellen DeGeneres Returns To Her Show, Apologizes Amid Toxic Work Environment Claims: Things Happened Here That Should’ve Never Happened
Veteran TV host Ellen DeGeneres and her daytime talk show The Ellen DeGeneres Show were under fire after claims of racism, sexual assault, and a toxic environment on set made headlines, leading to an investigation.
Ellen DeGeneres opened up season 18 of her show in a lengthy apology while addressing the claims to a virtual audience.
“If you’re watching because you love me, thank you. If you’re watching because you don’t love me, welcome.”
“As you may have heard, this summer there were allegations of a toxic environment here at our show. And then there was an investigation. I learned that things happened here that never should have happened. I take that very seriously and I want to say I’m so sorry to the people who were affected. I am a boss of 270 people, 270 people who help make this show what it is… All I want is for every single one of them to be happy and to be proud to work here.”
She added that she is:
“committed to making this the best season that we’ve ever had.”
Ellen DeGeneres also clears the air on how her “be kind” mantra began, ensuring her fans that she is the same person you see on TV.
“I started saying ‘be kind to one another’ after after a young man named Tyler Clementi took his own life after being bullied for being gay. I thought the world needed more kindness, and it was a reminder that we all needed that. I think we need it more than ever right now. The truth is, I am that person you see on TV — I’m also a lot of other things. Sometimes I get sad, I get mad, I get anxious, I get frustrated, I get impatient. And I am working on all of that.”
She went on to say,
“I’ve played a straight woman in movies, so I’m a pretty good actress. But I don’t think that I’m that good that I could come out here every day for 17 years and fool you. This is me. And 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.”
One former employee of the show alleged that there is a facade the veteran host portrays to the public while employees are allegedly mistreated. They 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 former employee stated,
“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.’”
Immediately following the claims, Ellen DeGeneres apologized about the allegations revolving around her show. She reportedly stated in an email to her staff,
“On day one of our show, I told everyone in our first meeting that The Ellen DeGeneres Show would be a place of happiness…Obviously, something changed, and I am disappointed that this has not been the case. And for that, I am sorry.”
Another anonymous Black female former employee 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.’”
“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 are your thoughts on Ellen DeGeneres’s apology and statements? Let us know in the comments!