For months, stories and articles about Ellen DeGeneres have been circulating widely. There were stories about how she treats employees, how she treats waitresses, how she treats other journalists and colleagues and more. She’s apparently a pretty vile person, which wouldn’t be *as* notable if Ellen’s brand wasn’t all about niceness and kindness. Anyway, who would have ever thought that the woman who is abusive to waitresses would also create a toxic work environment on her eponymous show? A few weeks ago, Buzzfeed published an article claiming many people on The Ellen DeGeneres Show hate it there and that it’s a toxic work environment full of sexism, racism, favoritism and shady behavior.
About a week after the Buzzfeed story came out, Warner Bros announced that they would conduct an “internal review” of the show, with a third-party team so that staffers could feel free to talk about their experiences. Buzzfeed has done a follow-up story in which some very serious sexual misconduct and sexual harassment charges were raised from unnamed staffers, mostly in regard to executive producer Ed Galvin. The Hollywood Reporter’s sources now say that Galvin is being let go, and that more senior staff will likely be fired before all of this over (and who knows when the review will be over). Throughout the entire months-long controversy over Ellen’s behavior in particular, Ellen has not said anything or issued any kind of statement. When her staffers began speaking to Buzzfeed, she still didn’t say anything, and THR says she was “discouraged from addressing the allegations.” But now she has released a statement to her staff, which was promptly leaked to media outlets:
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. Love, Ellen
“I’m glad the issues at our show were brought to my attention” - because staffers didn’t have an outlet to address the toxic work environment and that’s why they went to Buzzfeed, which instigated all of this. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think *everything* rests on Ellen’s shoulders, and obviously they have a big staff and Ellen delegated and kept herself away from the daily operations. But, again, it’s HER show, her name, and she has the responsibility for how the show operates. It’s been dysfunctional for years, clearly.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.