Ellen DeGeneres breaks silence on 'toxic workplace' allegations

Kristine Tarbert
·Senior Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
·3-min read

As reports of a ‘toxic work culture’ continue to swirl around Ellen DeGeneres, the talk show host has finally addressed the allegations in a letter to staff.

In the leaked letter obtained by the Hollywood Reporter, the 30-time Emmy winner said she takes “responsibility” as the program bears her name, adding that changes will be made.

ellen deGeneres apology
Ellen DeGeneres has issued a letter to staff. Photo: WarnerBros

“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,” the letter read.

“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.”

Over the past few months, the show has been plagued by rumours and recently, a number of staff and former workers on the daytime talk show spoke out anonymously to Buzzfeed, slamming the reported mistreatment they experienced during their time at the show.

WarnerMedia is believed to have launched an internal investigation in the The Ellen DeGeneres Show, with a third party firm reportedly being hired to interview current and former staff about their experiences while working on the program.

Ellen added that the team have also begun an internal investigation and are ‘taking steps’ 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,” she continued.

“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.”

Ellen DeGeneres promises change

The 62-year-old comedian promised to do her part moving forward.

“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,” she says. “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,” DeGeneres concludes, adding that she would have done this in person if it weren’t for the coronavirus pandemic.

Ellen DeGeneres during the FOX PRESENTS THE IHEART LIVING ROOM CONCERT
Ellen said she would have apologised in person if not for the pandemic. Photo: Getty

The publication reports the internal investigation is largely complete, although what will happen is unclear.

Two sources claim that executive producer Ed Glavin is one of the employees who will be fired. The initial Buzzfeed report had largely pointed the finger at the program’s three executive producers including Ed, as well as Mary Connelly and Andy Lassner.

Additional reporting by Taryn Ryder.

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