In some weird twist of fate, the happy, sunshine-y world of The Ellen Show has been revealed to be a hotbed of workplace harassment and intimidation involving jerky producers treating their underlings like garbage. Rumors have been circulating for months about staff mistreatment and a toxic office environment, but on July 30, the big kahuna, Ellen Degeneres herself, confirmed the rumors in a letter apologizing for her staff’s behavior.
Who would have thought there would be such a scandal behind one of the mainstream media’s most tolerant and lovable PC heroes?
Degeneres, the 62 year-old host of The Ellen Show and gay media icon finally responded to months of questions about her production’s atmosphere. Degeneres composed a letter to her staff on July 30 apologizing for the hostile work environment and promised for improvements. It was a stunning admission after months of speculation.
For some time now, rumors had begun to circulate that Ellen’s producers had been fostering a toxic work environment for young employees. Multiple reports telling of annoyed Ellen Show staffers complaining of overbearing bosses and even sexual harassment started to snowball this this year. One of the most provocative claims, which was from July 16, asserted that her show’s “Be kind” image masked “behind the scenes” “racism, fear, and intimidation.” At the time, this was corroborated by at least one current staff member and 10 other former employees.
More recently, a Daily Beast report from July 31 counted complaints provided to Buzzfeed News from at least “Three dozen former employees of The Ellen DeGeneres Show” against some of the show’s “top producers.” These “young” employees claimed accused said producers of engaging “in blatant sexual harassment and misconduct.” Apparently it was all too much, and after executive producers Andy Lassner, Ed Glavin, and Mary Connelly gave a statement to Buzzfeed saying they take the complaints “very seriously,” Degeneres finally confirmed the rumors.
In a letter addressed to her staff, which was obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, Degeneres admitted to the problem. She began, saying that though it had always been her priority that “The Ellen DeGeneres Show would be a place of happiness,” “something changed, and I am disappointed to learn that this has not been the case. And for that, I am sorry.”
As her letter continued, Degeneres denied any wrongdoing or harassment on her part specifically, but admitted that the people she entrusted with responsibility didn’t do their jobs “as I’d want them done.” She promised in the letter. “That will now change and I’m committed to ensuring this does not happen again.”
The talk show host admitted “My name is on the show and everything we do and I take responsibility for that,” and she announced that her parent company, Warner Bros. Studios would be launching an “internal investigation” into the misconduct. Degeneres added, “we are taking steps, together, to correct the issues.”
Though the letter never confirmed who was at fault, the recent Daily Beast report alluded to many of the accusations being levied against executive producers Ed Glavin and Kevin Leman. Neither have yet to comment on anything.