Ellen DeGeneres’ long-running talk show is reportedly under investigation after allegations from former staffers of a “toxic” work environment.
Variety reported the show has “has become the subject of an internal investigation” by parent company WarnerMedia after reports of workplace issues on the series.
Executives reportedly notified staff last week they’d engaged an employee relations group and a third party firm to look into the show.
They will “interview current and former staffers about their experiences on set,” the memo reads. It stated the investigation has a goal of providing “an environment where employees can flourish”.
Earlier his month, Buzzfeed published claims from 10 former and one current Ellen employee. They described the show’s “toxic work environment” and a culture of “racism, fear and intimidation”.
Former employees alleged the show’s producers had sacked them for taking medical leave or attending family funerals. One said the show fired them for posting a selfie in the office on Instagram.
“That ‘be kind’ bulls**t only happens when the cameras are on. It’s all for show,” one former staffer said.
“I know they give money to people and help them out, but it’s for show.”
One black female staff member alleged she’d copped “racist comments, actions, and microagressions” while at work.
Others claimed that raising complaints about offensive or racist comments from colleagues saw them labelled as “PC police”.
Ellen executive producers respond to claims of ‘toxic’ workplace
The staffers didn’t accuse Ellen DeGeneres herself of any wrongdoing in the Buzzfeed report.
However the employees claimed they were told not to talk to her if they saw her.
One former employee said, “If [Ellen] wants to have her own show and have her name on the show title, she needs to be more involved to see what’s going on.”
Responding earlier this month, Ellen executive producers Ed Glavin, Mary Connelly, and Andy Lassner said they took the allegations “very seriously”.
“Over the course of nearly two decades… we’ve strived to create an open, safe, and inclusive work environment,” they said.
“We are truly heartbroken and sorry to learn that even one person 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. We realise, as many in the world are learning, that we need to do better, are committed to do better, and will do better.”
Ellen’s show previously came under fire in March from staff members for poorly communicating the status of their jobs and pay during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In March, comedian Kevin Porter dubbed DeGeneres “one of the meanest people alive” in a viral Twitter thread.
He received thousands of replies to the thread after calling for stories of “Ellen being mean.”
But Ellen has denied such allegations in the past. In 2018 she told the New York Times, “That bugs me if someone is saying [she’s not nice] because it’s an outright lie.”
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