Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres was recently called out by numerous celebrities, staff members and a former bodyguard for her apparent coldness. And now, The Ellen DeGeneres Show has come under the spotlight for perpetuating a toxic work culture.
In a new Buzzfeed article, one current and ten former employees blew the lid off the show.
For most part, the team of executive producers – and not Ellen – was the object of their ire. But they agreed that Ellen “really needs to take more responsibility” for creating a healthy workplace environment.
“If she 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,” one former employee said.
“I think the executive producers surround her and tell her, ‘Things are going great, everybody’s happy,’ and she just believes that, but it’s her responsibility to go beyond that.”
Former employees reveal what goes on behind the scences
The employees divulged how they were fired for taking medical leaves or bereavement days to attend family funerals. Racism, favoritism and intimidation were rampant.
A Black woman who used to work on The Ellen DeGeneres Show opened up about her experience. She recounted how, at a work party, one of the main writers told her, “I’m sorry, I only know the names of the white people who work here,” and other coworkers “awkwardly laughed it off”.
Another former employee revealed how they took medical leave for joining a mental health facility after attempting suicide. But when they joined back, they learnt their job was in jeopardy.
“You’d think that if someone just tried to kill themselves, you don’t want to add any more stress to their lives,” the afflicted told BuzzFeed News.
“They definitely don’t practice what they preach with the ‘be kind’ mantra,” the employees echoed.
Joint statement by the show’s executive producers
Executive producers Ed Glavin, Mary Connelly, and Andy Lassner released a joint statement saying they take their employees’ concerns very seriously.
“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,” they said.
“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. We take all of this very seriously and we realize, as many in the world are learning, that we need to do better, are committed to do better, and we will do better.”
Ellen DeGeneres came under the fire on Twitter
Before the news of the talk show’s toxic work culture broke out, stories about host Ellen’s “kindness” started swirling. Ellen DeGeneres has created an entire brand on the slogan “Be Kind”, but the reality is far from perfect.
Ellen’s former bodyguard recently revealed he had a bitter experience with her at the 2014 Oscars and that she was “demeaning”.
In March, comedian Kevin T. Porter started a Twitter thread asking people to share stories they had heard about Ellen’s meanness. His tweet got more than 2,600 replies.
“friend of mine was a PA on her show and when Russell Brand came into the employee break area to chat with the crew and hang out, Ellen came in and got mad at him – saying he didn’t have to interact with these people, that’s why guests have their own area backstage,” a user wrote.