On Monday, WarnerMedia, the company that distributes The Ellen DeGeneres Show initiated an internal investigation following allegations of a toxic work environment and workplace misconduct on the long time running daytime talk show.
An internal memo sent last week explained that current and former staff will be interviewed about claims of ‘mistreatment, racism and intimidation’ on the show. A rep for the show declined to comment on the reports regarding the investigation.
What Initiated the Investigation
The internal inquiry comes after 1 current and 10 former employees anonymously spoke with BuzzFeed News about their experience on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in an article published on July 16. The employees talked about a toxic work culture, involving racism, bullying and intimidation. This has been the latest in a string of negative stories about the show and host Ellen DeGeneres published over the past six months.
Earlier this year, there were also reports that revealed staff members were upset over their treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic. Namely referring to reduced hours and weeks of no communication from higher-ups.
What the BuzzFeed Investigation brought to light
The BuzzFeed investigation detailed incidents in which the staffers said they were sidelined, disciplined or fired for speaking up about discrimination. Taking a mental health leave or attending family funerals, were among some of the other things. The allegations ranged from racist microaggressions, to insensitive jokes about mistaking two Black female employees with the same hairstyle.
One former employee revealed that she left her job after she was called into a meeting with executive producer Ed Glavin. The ex-employee revealed that she was reprimanded for her objections to the term “spirit animal.” Not only this, she was also admonished while asking for a raise, and suggesting employees on the show receive diversity and inclusion training. The employee said Glavin told her she “was walking around looking resentful and angry.” There were no specific claims against host Ellen DeGeneres.
“We are committed to do better, and we will do better”
Glavin and fellow executive producers Mary Connelly and Andy Lassner have since then addressed the allegations in a joint statement to BuzzFeed. Mentioning that they take the employees’ stories “very seriously.”
The statement, issued on July 17, read, “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,” the statement added. “We take all of this very seriously and we realize, as many in the world are learning, that we need to do better. We are committed to do better, and we will do better.”
The Ellen DeGeneres Show has been a beloved daytime talk show since its debut in 2003. The show, which is in its 17th season, has garnered more than 171 Daytime Emmy Award nominations and 61 wins. It has also won four for outstanding talk show and seven for outstanding talk show entertainment. To this day, the talk show remains a top performer in its field, with roughly 2.5 million daily viewers.
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