Ellen DeGeneres’ show is under an ‘internal review’ for its toxic work environment

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2020 will go down as one of the worst years ever, but some interesting sh-t has happened too. One example: 2020 is the year that we all collectively stopped pretending that Ellen DeGeneres is actually a nice person or a good person. The stories have been out there for years, and her Not-So-Subtle Mean Girl persona has been there for everyone to see on her show for years too. But things really came to a head over the past four months or so. She treats her employees like sh-t. She’s created an overwhelming toxic work environment. Current and former employees recently spoke to Buzzfeed and detailed all of the awful sh-t that’s been going down on The Ellen DeGeneres Show for years. And now, because of that Buzzfeed article, Ellen’s show is under an internal investigation:

Ellen DeGeneres’ acclaimed talk show is reportedly under internal review following multiple allegations from former staffers about the talk show’s workplace environment. According to reports from Variety and The Hollywood Reporter, both published Monday, The Ellen DeGeneres Show will undergo an internal investigation by WarnerMedia. Reps for The Ellen DeGeneres Show and Warner Bros. Television declined to comment when reached by PEOPLE. A rep for DeGeneres did not immediately return PEOPLE’s request for comment.

Telepictures and Warner Bros. TV executives sent a memo to Ellen Show staffers last week announcing they have engaged WarnerMedia’s employee relations group and a third party firm, according to Variety. Current and former staffers will reportedly be interviewed about their experiences on set. The memo cited recent articles as the reason for the workplace investigation, per Variety.

Earlier this month, BuzzFeed News published a report in which previous employees alleged there is a “toxic work environment” behind the scenes of the daytime talk show. One current and 10 former staffers spoke anonymously about their experiences on set, including claims of being penalized for taking medical leave, instances of racial microaggressions and fear of retribution for raising complaints.

[From People]

When the Buzzfeed story came out, the executive producers – Ed Glavin, Mary Connelly and Andy Lassner – made a statement taking responsibility for what was happening on the show and they said words about trying to create “an open, safe and inclusive work environment.” Ellen has not issued one statement at all. Which says a lot – either she knows and doesn’t care, or she’s allowed this toxicity to fester while she’s largely absent from the day-to-day running of her show.

As for the investigation… it’s always a good move when a network or production company brings in a third party to investigate, honestly. When Fox News brought in a third party, substantial changes were made in-house and Roger Ailes was ousted. NBC News did NOT bring in a third-party to investigate the toxicity and culture of sexual abuse and harassment and you can tell that they’ll all a bunch of ass-covering douche-bros who hate women. Apparently, this investigation will be conducted by “WarnerMedia’s employee relations group and a third party firm,” which… I don’t know. I hope people feel safe in coming forward, but WarnerMedia’s inclusion might make people fear that their jobs are on the line if they do speak up.

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19 Responses to “Ellen DeGeneres’ show is under an ‘internal review’ for its toxic work environment”

  1. Chelly says:

    Who really cares now though, her show is a sinking ship

    • Prayer Warrior says:

      I suspect the folks who were used and abused may care….sometimes validation is important, and validating their experiences may help them move forward instead of staying stuck….

      • minx says:

        Yes. I hope this taints Ellen’s reputation for a long time..

      • Lady Keller says:

        PrayerWarrier amen. I worked in an abusive, toxic work environment for years. I’m sure the people who were abused on that show would love to be validated. When you’re in a crappy situation it’s easy to think you’re the problem. I dont care how well they were paid or how good the jobs were. No one deserves to be abused. Full stop.

  2. Jules says:

    I think she will use quarantine to quietly retire and keep a low profile for a while, hoping we all forget. And then she will try to make a huge comeback, because she’s changed so much. It’s the same Hollywood script used over and over.

  3. Lotoya says:

    It was about time

  4. bluemoonhorse says:

    JMO but the executive producers are trying to protect Ellen by taking the rap. Not saying they weren’t part of this and fully aware, but for some reason they are trying to protect the Ellen brand. Sorry, we know this was Ellen and that she endorsed cruelty. Look at her stupid show!

    • Nimbolicious says:

      They were part of it, they were aware, and what they’re trying to protect is their very cush jobs and salaries. That’s it. They don’t give ANY more of a damn about the crew and support staff around Ellen than she does. The set was a reign of psychological and emotional terror for many (if not most).

      It’s ironic that she’s such a vocal supporter of animal rights and rescue when she gives zero f$&@s about people. I hope whatever they find sinks the show and that she’ll go away and STFU.

  5. Lady Keller says:

    She looks like nosferatu in that picture.

    • Mumbles says:

      Yes, or Gollum from LOTR.

      I don’t know the point of this review. The cruelty emanates from the star of the show. It’s not like they can *fire* her and replace her with someone else. She IS the show. And her cruelty is so deeply embedded in her personality it’s not that they can change that.

      That said, it’s great that we’re looking at toxicity in the workplace. For too long powerful people at companies, firms, and banks think that so long as abuse isn’t actionable, it’s acceptable. Just because you can’t sue someone based on being a cruel asshole doesn’t mean that should be tolerated.

  6. yinyang says:

    Good, I hope this will set a precedent for other work environments as well.

  7. AMM says:

    Looking at the response to this on Twitter, There’s no public support to motivate them to keep her show on. Under all the news articles I’ve seen, Everyone’s just agreeing it’s time to shut down the show or making Jokes about Dakota knowing Ellen was the worst.

  8. anniefannie says:

    My sister attended the Ellen pre Oscar show. They requested audience members feign iconic movie scenes prior to taping. My sister and her bestie acted out the iconic “ Harry met Sally” orgasm restaurant scene. My sister was captured panting,& parroting an orgasm The producers then created a vignette of it as though she was up for best actress and opened the show with it. I personally thought it was hilarious but her kids (4) were mortified and my sister was caught flat footed by it as she was unaware it’d be used for that purpose. To me it suggests a kind of recklessness that validates this investigation

  9. Busyann says:

    Im not an employee, but years ago my Hubby and I were in the audience at her show. We were so thrilled to be there. But it was a really long wait in a crowded cafeteria like holding area, without good seating, and it was miserably hot. Then when we moved, we were just placed in an even smaller, more crowded area but it was more comfy and air conditioned. Finally, after what had to have been like 4 hours of waiting, we got into the studio and it was kind of….lackluster? They kept telling us to dance and have fun between the breaks, but we had to be basically silent during taping. She didn’t interact much with the audience and at the end they only gave us mini boxes of m&m’s. It was a miserable experience and we haven’t watched a single episode since. It’s like the veil was lifted.

  10. Meg says:

    Unrelated and superficial, ellens hair is unflattering and her ears seem more prominent than i remember from the past

  11. Flamingo says:

    Hostile work environment is unfortunately really hard to prove, I’ve worked in employment law for years and unless there is concrete evidence, a lot of attorneys won’t take these cases. A workplace harassment case is not just that you are bullied or treated differently by your boss. You have to be able to prove that you are singled out because you’re in a protected class. Bosses, owners, CEOs can be complete and total assholes to their employees as long as they aren’t specifically doing it to only the black employees or openly promoting only men to partner level positions, etc. Hostile work environment takes it a step further. You have to prove that there is a systemic harassment of one or more of the protected classes.

    A toxic work environment is a different beast as there is not an outlet that an employee can take their case to, like the EEOC for harassment and hostile work environment. Toxic work environment is basically just people of power being assholes to everyone. There aren’t any legal ramifications for this. I don’t know the ins and outs of this case, but it sounds like they will have a third party come in, write a 300 page report, fire a few people to say that they did something, and that’s about it.

  12. lucy2 says:

    Hopefully just being investigated (and having that news go public) will bring about some change to that work environment. Ellen herself won’t take any personal responsibility, but if it makes it better for anyone, good.

    Sometimes it just takes someone being brave and speaking up. One person posted their experience with racial discrimination at the university program I graduated from, and it opened the flood gates, and has brought together a lot of students and alumni to say ENOUGH.

  13. Jane wilson says:

    What a terrible way to end a career – by being a nasty piece of work.
    I would die of shame…but then, I wouldn’t conduct myself that way.

  14. Seeker542 says:

    One of her (former?) writers is a local “success story” from my area and I saw him perform standup seven months ago… he was really dark, tried to be edgy and it left an awkward feeling in the room. Not a lot of audience members went up to talk to him afterwards.

    I don’t know if he’s someone who contributed to the toxic work environment or has just been long-term affected from it, but you know what they say about the company you keep…

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