After an investigation was launched over allegations of workplace abuse, comedienne Ellen DeGeneres broke her silence on Thursday and publicly apologized to her staff for any injustice they may have experienced at the hands of leadership.
“On day one of our show, I told everyone in our first meeting that ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’ would be a place of happiness — no one would ever raise their voice, and everyone would be treated with respect. Obviously, something changed, and I am disappointed to learn that this has not been the case,” DeGeneres wrote, as reported by Variety.
“I could not have the success I’ve had without all of your contributions. My name is on the show and everything we do and I take responsibility for that,” she continued. “Alongside Warner Bros., we immediately began an internal investigation and we are taking steps, together, to correct the issues. As we’ve grown exponentially, I’ve not been able to stay on top of everything and relied on others to do their jobs as they knew I’d want them done. Clearly some didn’t. That will now change and I’m committed to ensuring this does not happen again.”
As The Daily Wire reported earlier this month, Buzzfeed interviewed several former employees of the show who claimed they experienced a toxic work environment counter to Ellen’s image as a kind-hearted person.
“Some of the accusations included insensitive comments about race, being fired after returning from a month-long absence at a mental health facility, and receiving a warning after creating and publicizing a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for medical costs that weren’t covered by the show’s health insurance,” the report said.
One black female former employee told Buzzfeed, “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 bulls**t.”
Another former employee said that they had worked on the show for over a year before spending a month at a mental facility for a suicide attempt. When they returned, their position was removed. “You’d think that if someone just tried to kill themselves, you don’t want to add any more stress to their lives,” the person said. “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.”
Though neither Ellen nor Warner Bros. have commented on the matter, Variety reported that insiders say that executive producer Ed Glavin will be exiting his role soon.
Last week, executives from Telepictures, which produces Ellen’s show, and distributor Warner Bros. Television sent a memo to staffers announcing that WarnerMedia’s employee relations division and a third-party firm will be interviewing current and former staffers about their experience working for the show.
Read Ellen’s apology in full:
Hey everybody – it’s Ellen. On day one of our show, I told everyone in our first meeting that The Ellen DeGeneres Show would be a place of happiness – no one would ever raise their voice, and everyone would be treated with respect. Obviously, something changed, and I am disappointed to learn that this has not been the case. And for that, I am sorry. Anyone who knows me knows it’s the opposite of what I believe and what I hoped for our show.
I could not have the success I’ve had without all of your contributions. My name is on the show and everything we do and I take responsibility for that. Alongside Warner Bros, we immediately began an internal investigation and we are taking steps, together, to correct the issues. As we’ve grown exponentially, I’ve not been able to stay on top of everything and relied on others to do their jobs as they knew I’d want them done. Clearly some didn’t. That will now change and I’m committed to ensuring this does not happen again.
I’m also learning that people who work with me and for me are speaking on my behalf and misrepresenting who I am and that has to stop. As someone who was judged and nearly lost everything for just being who I am, I truly understand and have deep compassion for those being looked at differently, or treated unfairly, not equal, or – worse – disregarded. To think that any one of you felt that way is awful to me.
It’s been way too long, but we’re finally having conversations about fairness and justice. We all have to be more mindful about the way our words and actions affect others, and I’m glad the issues at our show were brought to my attention. I promise to do my part in continuing to push myself and everyone around me to learn and grow. It’s important to me and to Warner Bros. that everyone who has something to say can speak up and feels safe doing so.
I am so proud of the work we do and the fun and joy we all help put out in the world. I want everyone at home to love our show and I want everyone who makes it to love working on it. Again, I’m so sorry to anyone who didn’t have that experience. If not for COVID, I’d have done this in person, and I can’t wait to be back on our stage and see you all then.
Stay safe and healthy.
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