On Monday, after taking a beating in the media over the summer, comedienne Ellen DeGeneres publicly apologized on camera for her show’s allegedly toxic work environment.
“As you may have heard, this summer there were allegations of a toxic work environment at our show and then there was an investigation. I learned that things happened here that never should have happened,” she said. “I take that very seriously and I want to say I am so sorry to the people who were affected. I know that I’m in a position of privilege and power and I realized that with that comes responsibility, and I take responsibility for what happens at my show.”
Ellen’s former employees, however, did not accept her apology and were incensed over the fact she inserted sarcastic comments throughout her monologue.
“Not only did Ellen turn my trauma, turn our traumas, into a joke, she somehow managed to make this about her,” a former employee told BuzzFeed News.
“When she said, ‘Oh, my summer was great’ and that was supposed to be funny, I thought, ‘It’s funny that you had a rough summer because everyone was calling out all of the allegations of your toxic work environment and now you’re the one suffering?’” another said.
“When you’re talking about people who have accused her leadership of the seriousness of sexual misconduct, I don’t think it’s appropriate to have jokes in the monologue,” another said.
During her monologue, Ellen addressed the rumors that she doesn’t often live up to her “be kind” sloganeering, joking that nobody should ever portray themselves as the kind person again.
“There were also articles in the press and on social media that said that I am not who I appeared to be on TV because I became known as the ‘be kind’ lady. And here’s how that happened: I started saying, ‘be kind to one another’ after a young man named Tyler Clementi took his own life after being bullied for being gay,” DeGeneres said.
“I thought the world needed more kindness and it was a reminder that we all needed that, and I think we need it more than ever right now,” she continued. “Being known as the ‘be kind’ lady is a tricky position to be in. So let me give you some advice out there if anybody’s thinking of changing their title or giving yourself a nickname, do not go with the ‘be kind’ lady. Don’t do it.”
A former employee said that the joke rang hollow because it failed to address those who have allegedly experienced Ellen’s unpleasantness.
“I don’t feel sorry that she’s in a s***tload of trouble because she branded herself the ‘be kind’ person,” said one former employee. “She’s acting like it was something she said in passing that just stuck with her. It’s not something that stuck with her, it’s not an accident. She went forward with this idea and this marketing strategy that was not true behind the scenes.”
“There’s nothing wrong with being the ‘be kind lady’ if you’re actually true to your word,” the employee added.
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