Ellen DeGeneres fired three producers on her show & apologized again to staffers

Comedian Ellen DeGeneres wearing Celine poses in the press room at the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 5, 2020 in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California, United States.

It was a pipe dream to think that Ellen DeGeneres would lose her show, or that Warner Bros would make her pay for anything in the wake of all of the stories about her unpleasant behavior, and the toxic work environment on her show. That’s not the way power works and that’s not the way Hollywood works. Even though it’s more than clear that Ellen created the toxic environment directly or through her apathy, and even though it’s clear that Ellen is actually a terrible person to every non-celebrity, she was never going to get hit with it immediately. Not when there are producers she can throw under the bus.

“The Ellen DeGeneres Show” has overhauled its senior production team in the wake of accusations of racial insensitivity, sexual misconduct and other problems in the work environment at the long-running daytime talk show.

Three senior producers — executive producers Ed Glavin and Kevin Leman, and co-executive producer Jonathan Norman — have been ousted from the Warner Bros.-distributed syndicated strip following damning allegations raised in recent reports by Buzzfeed and Variety. “Ellen” veterans Mary Connelly, Andy Lassner and Derek Westervelt will remain at the show as executive producers alongside host DeGeneres. Connelly, Lassner and Westervelt have been with the show since its inception in 2003.

The news was delivered to “Ellen” staffers Monday afternoon during a staff meeting in which DeGeneres spoke via a videoconference call. DeGeneres was emotional to the point of tears, and apologetic as she addressed more than 200 staffers. According to multiple sources, DeGeneres told the staff she was “not perfect” and realized that in the effort for the show to run as a “well-oiled machine,” sometimes leaders were not as sensitive to “human beings” as they should have been. She added that reading disturbing allegations about the atmosphere on the show was “heartbreaking.”

[From Variety]

By all accounts, these producers did need to be fired. But I have my doubts as to whether firing three producers will fundamentally change the toxicity within the show. There’s no real promise of big restructuring, and I would imagine that these firings are coming ahead of some impending lawsuits or out-of-court settlements to several former employees as well.

Ellen apparently told staffers on the call that: “I’m a multi-layered person, and I try to be the best person I can be and I try to learn from my mistakes. I’m hearing that some people felt that I wasn’t kind or too short with them, or too impatient. I apologize to anybody if I’ve hurt your feelings in any way.” She also promised to be more available to staff and “she acknowledged she can be introverted at times and she apologized if that was ever seen as hurtful. They’re putting in real structures and resources for people so this never happens again and that is extremely important to Ellen.” Well, I guess that answers my questions about whether Ellen even wants to continue doing the show – she clearly does. She clearly still wants her show, and she’s willing to fire people and make some vague promises to keep it.

Ellen Degeneres in the press room at the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 05, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California © Jill Johnson/jpistudios.com

Photos courtesy of WENN, Avalon Red.

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37 Responses to “Ellen DeGeneres fired three producers on her show & apologized again to staffers”

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  1. Christine says:

    She is playing dumb, and her non-apology is absolute proof to me that she is a toxic, narcissistic person. She is playing like she is the victim, blaming others, and the piece de resistance “I am sorry IF I’ve hurt your feelings.” A toxic workplace is more than hurt feelings. It is systematic, intentional, and designed to instill fear. I can only imagine the side texting among employees during the call.

    • Amy Too says:

      “Sorry IF I hurt anyone’s feelings” AND “sorry IF my introverted nature came off as hurtful.” A double non-apology! Oh boy! She’s really doubling down on being the main victim here and trying to get people to feel bad for her because she’s just so introverted, despite being a working comedienne and having a 5 day a week talk show for 17 years, and she’s just bumbling around like a naive child accidentally hurting people all over the place without realizing it. Not an apology.

    • MeannesNothin says:

      ‘ “Ellen” veterans Mary Connelly, Andy Lassner and Derek Westervelt will remain at the show as executive producers alongside host DeGeneres. Connelly, Lassner and Westervelt have been with the show since its inception in 2003. ‘

      This is the only important part of the whole bit. Those 3 are the ones closest to Ellen & the execproducers that have let the abuse run rampant since 2003. 2003! The other 3 departing mean nothing lol Ellen really is more than a mean person, you guys. She finds entertainment and enjoyment and HUMOR in the pain of others. Ya’ll, Ellen is a sociopath who tries really hard to pretend she’s not & has Human Feelings 🤦🏽‍♀️

      Andy is known as Ellen’s guard dog on that show. They literally kept the 3 on that have been more than willing to let the abuse thrive.

  2. Jojo says:

    Their internal investigation said there is no evidence of systemic racism and they promoted Twitch, the not really a DJ , who happens to be Black to co executive producer.

  3. anniefannie says:

    Much like the Trump administration “ The fish rots from the head”
    Were I counseling Ellen I’d advise her to shut it down ( I realize this impacts 100’s of jobs ) but the demise of this show is inevitable and this should be a warning signal to those that follow ,if you allow a toxic environment , the people will rise up! Power to the people, bout time…

  4. Angela says:

    I do think there were some huge problems at the show but I feel like every bug show has big problems . I don’t think you get that huge without a little selfishness and stepping on a few people even in bussiness Google/apple/ (not saying that’s good just Hollywood and big bussiness in itself is toxic)

    • lucy2 says:

      This seemed beyond the normal problems, especially with so many people willing to talk about it.

    • megs283 says:

      Right. Not saying this is ok at all – but have you seen the series The Men Who Built America? (UGH on the title.) Rockefeller, Carnegie, Vanderbilt, all these people…. they were NOT nice and stepped on everyone and everything on the way to the top.

  5. lucy2 says:

    While there’s probably a lot more work to be done there, hopefully this does help some, and improves the environment for those working there.
    If Ellen herself isn’t going anywhere, hopefully all this happening will make her at least try to be nicer and more human to her show’s staff, and more careful with who else has power there. Her meaness has always been rumored but slid under the public radar until all this, so hopefully she takes it as an opportunity to truly do better.

    • Mei says:

      +1 to this! Always hoping (potentially foolishly) for the best.

    • Roo says:

      She may not care at all about her staff and she may only be there for the paycheck, but the difference is that she now knows that people are watching and talking. She will have to think twice about laughing at a staffer getting yelled at to the point of tears or yelling at a waitress about her nails. She will at least have to appear as if she cares. Shall we take bets on how long that lasts?

  6. Ariel says:

    Must be difficult to give up that kind of obscene income.

    • K says:

      She’s already filthy rich, must she be even filthier? Ellen has looked dead behind the eyes for years. I think most obscenely wealthy people are so far beyond everyday concerns that they live in an almost alternate reality from the rest of us and may be quite bored or lonely in all that cushy comfort. Hunger is what drives most people to (have to) get shit done.

  7. Jessi says:

    Speculation: Ellen wants out but wants to go out on her terms – popular and beloved. Maybe 2 more seasons with a big push to be adored, get spectacular ratings, testimonials from all kinds of people who love her, and then out?

    • Linda says:

      Good call. I can see her thinking that would work.

    • Jules says:

      Yes I agree. She should have quietly stepped down, hid away for a bit, and then did the prescribed comeback/I’ve learned so much from my mistakes, blah blah blah. But she is gonna fight it out apparently, her ego is too big to step down and away from the spotlight.

    • K says:

      It makes sense that she would hope to go out on a high note, but IMO, she waited a couple years too long. An important skill in life is knowing when to leave the party.

  8. Izzy says:

    Yay. Even more fake, more sugary Ellen to look forward to. Woo.

  9. AnnaKist says:

    Well. Huh. This doesn’t make me like her. Weird, hey.

  10. Amy Bee says:

    This goes to show that Cancel Culture is a myth.

  11. jferber says:

    She is making amends right now. Cleaning house. Please don’t cancel her. God knows how many chances straight white men get. Just give her a chance and don’t turn your backs on her. She can turn this around. Let her.

  12. ce says:

    I worked on a TV Show which needed to do an internal investigation like this, and the person who was under investigation was fired, but not the producers who allowed/enabled the behavior… so the workplace continued to be toxic. I left the following season.

  13. Linda says:

    Too little, too late. The truth is out and there is no redemption. She should leave quietly and crawl under a rock. I have thought she was mean and nasty from the second year of her show and stopped watching. She NEVER smiles with her eyes. Her mouth turns up in a sardonic grimace. That is the REAL Ellen.

  14. Nina says:

    Let me fix this for you, Ellen.

    Don’t say ‘I’m hearing that some people felt that I wasn’t kind or too short with them, or too impatient.’

    Do say: ‘ I haven’t been kind. I have been too short and too impatient with people. Justification doesn’t matter — it was wrong. I’m sorry. I will work to be better.’

    • Amy Too says:

      So much distancing language. It’s basically: “I’ve heard that there might be a possible rumor that’s maybe going around that claims that some people might be feeling like they kind of think I’m maybe not always that kind?” Not an apology! These statements should not be called apologies by the media. “I’m sorry IF I’ve hurt anyone,” is basically just “I’m sad that people are erroneously misinterpreting my behavior by thinking that it’s intentionally hurtful.” I almost think that statements should no longer start with “I’m sorry,” because “I’m sorry” can be a synonym for “I’m sad,” but should instead start with “I apologize.”

      • Nina says:


        I had a situation at work when a co-worker was rude to me. He was not my boss. He wasn’t even on my team. He was junior to me. This is what happened:

        Him: I need you to please give me admin right to
        Me: Okay, but why do you need admin rights?
        Him: So I can have admin rights.
        Me: Yeah, I get that but why? What do you need to do that requires admin rights?
        Him: So I can, like, add people and .. you know, do admin things!
        Me: Well, you are already set at a manager level and that allows you to add pe-..
        Him: Just give me admin rights! -walks away-

        I slacked him after the fact and told him never to speak to me like that again, that it was rude and disrespectful. He replied that he was sorry that I felt offended and then asked if I forgave him. I said that since he was putting the offense on me and wasn’t taking responsibility for his actions, I couldn’t possibly forgive him because in that scenario, he did nothing wrong to warrant forgiveness. That broke his brain and he immediately came over and apologized more sincerely in person and said that he shouldn’t have spoken to me like that and that it was wrong. Only THEN did I forgive him but it was with the caveat that he be more cognizant of how he speaks to his fellow employees going forward.

        I have no idea if that had a lasting effect on him; I left the company shortly afterwards.

  15. Leah says:

    She should have fired herself, she is the one who was doing the bullying.

    She could retire now and live comfortably but for that ego.

  16. Boogaloo Shrimp says:

    The fish rots from the head down.

  17. Blerg says:

    Big huge NO on the “I’m an introvert” excuse. I am pretty consistently told by friends and family that I am one of the most introverted introverts they know. However, I smile and greet everyone, because introversion is not synonymous with being rude, and it is not even synonymous with being shy. It just means we need less stimuli than our extroverted friends, and we need to build quiet alone time into our schedules to stay mentally healthy. If being a public figure is draining her energy too much, then she needs to rethink her lifestyle. The answer is not to be sparkling and gregarious to strangers until you’re worn out, and then to ignore or snap at people who work or live with you. I am super fired up about this because I know a lot of introverts who work really hard at being present for people, and kind, and do not in the evenings have the luxury of retreating to a big, secluded mansion. If she is too overwhelmed to be thoughtful and polite, that is from her own poor choices, not from her introversion.

  18. Yonati says:

    I teach my peeps that an apology doesn’t have an “IF” and that the person apologizing is the subject – the doer. “I’m sorry that I __________ (list the things you’ve done)” Then say what you should have done differently, then say that it is your intention to never make the same mistakes again. If you need help with that, ask for help.

  19. PKava says:

    My sister’s BFF worked on Ellen as a writer back in the day, was nominated for an Emmy, then fired for “crying at work”. She said it was the most miserable experience and VERY toxic in all ways. She was definitely bullied in the workplace. No question.

  20. Intheknow says:

    It’s easier if people just admit it and say ‘I am sorry I was such a bitch’ because well, sometimes that’s just how it is and how one feels. The fake apologies feels worse and like your complaints aren’t really heard. Second thing is, loads of her people were financially affected due to C19. She should cut each and every one of her people a nice fat check to see that they don’t have to worry about rent for 6 months.

  21. Never left a comment before says:

    Like I’m just curious people… WHO WATCHES THIS SHOW??