Gay chat-show star Ellen DeGeneres is having her TV programme investigated by its own producer, Telepictures, and distributor, Warner Bros Television (WBTV), following numerous claims about a ‘toxic work environment’.
According to Variety, the employee relations group for WBTV-owner WarnerMedia and a third party firm will interview current and former staff members about their on-set experiences.
The move comes despite the long-running daytime TV series’ producers issuing a statement in response to recent accusations of negative working conditions on the programme.
Their statement came after 10 former employees and one current employee spoke to Buzzfeed to tell their story about what goes on behind the scenes of The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
The employees all chose to remain anonymous. One of them said: “People focus on rumours about how Ellen is mean and everything like that, but that’s not the problem. The issue is these three executive producers running the show who are in charge of all these people [and] who make the culture and are putting out this feeling of bullying and being mean. They feel that everybody who works at The Ellen Show is lucky to work there - ‘So if you have a problem, you should leave because we’ll hire someone else because everybody wants to work here.’”
A Black ex-employee said: “Whenever I brought up an issue to my white male boss, he would bring up some random story about some random Black friend that he had and how they managed to get over stuff.
“He would use his Black friend as some way to say, ‘I understand your struggle’. But it was all performative bulls**t.”
Responding to the criticism, the show’s producers - Mary Connelly, Ed Glavin and Andy Lassner - said in a joint statement given to Entertainment Tonight: "Over the course of nearly two decades, 3,000 episodes, and employing over 1,000 staff members, we have strived to create an open, safe and inclusive work environment. We are truly heartbroken and sorry to learn that even one person in our production family has had a negative experience.”
The statement continued: "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.”
They added: “We take all of this very seriously, and we realise, as many in the world are learning, that we need to do better, are committed to do better, and we will do better.”
Ellen also hit the headlines earlier in the year when claims were made that her show’s staff had been kept in the dark about pay issues connected to lockdown.
Ellen herself also came in for criticism when she joked that being isolated in her home was like being in jail. Her remarks caused a fierce backlash, with people taking to social media to point out to her that there was a significant difference between being in prison and having to spend the lockdown period in a multi-million dollar mansion.
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