More TV stars in trouble. If it’s not Masked Singer host Nick Cannon nearly losing all his jobs over anti-semitic remarks, or Gabrielle Union suing America’s Got Talent for its reportedly toxic and racist work environment. Now there is Ellen.
Today, following the launch of investigation into the workplace environment at her daytime talk show, former American Idol judge Ellen DeGeneres has sent out an email to her staff, apologizing for the workplace culture. She states that the bad vibes on set did not reflect the values with which she started the show 17 years ago. She promised staff that she would do better.
A Warner Bros spokesperson also sent out a statement:
We have identified several staffing changes, along with appropriate measures to address the issues that have been raised, and are taking the first steps to implement them. Warner Bros. and Ellen DeGeneres are all committed to ensuring a workplace based on respect and inclusion. We are confident this course of action will lead us to the right way forward for the show.
Insiders tell Variety that executive producer Ed Galvin will be fired. Reportedly, two other producers, Mary Connelly and Andy Lassner will stay with the show.
A July investigation from BuzzFeed set off the investigation. It described many accusations of intimidation and racism on set, from 11 former and current employees, some specifically citing Glavin.
“That ‘be kind’ bull**** only happens when the cameras are on. It’s all for show,” one former employee told BuzzFeed News. “I know they give money to people and help them out, but it’s for show.”
Two things appear to have prompted the Buzzfeed investigation. In March, comedian Kevin T. Porter started a Twitter thread asking people to share “the most insane stories you’ve heard about Ellen [DeGeneres] being mean.” The tweet has more than 2,600 replies.
And in April, Variety reported that employees were upset with Ellen producers, who didn’t communicate details about their jobs and pay at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On July 22, reps from producer Telepictures, and distributor Warner Bros. Television sent a memo to staff on July 22, seeking interviews with former and current employees about their day-to-day experiences on the show.
Rumors about the toxic environment on the set of the Ellen DeGeneres Show have been floating around for YEARS. As sunny as she is on stage, apparently backstage is a different story. And I will say, in my experience, if a workplace is toxic, the negativity typically starts at the very top of the food chain.
Read Ellen’s letter to her staff in full below:
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.