Tyra Banks’ employees say she’s a “brutal, difficult diva”

36th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards

Remember Tyra Banks’ sudden announcement that this current year of her talk show would be her last? She announced it on Monday, on her website and through an exclusive statement to People Magazine. Unfortunately, Tyra didn’t tell every staff member of The Tyra Banks Show that she was hanging up her spurs to go be fierce somewhere else. This has caused some angst, anger and in-fighting among the staffers, and a few of them took to the NYDN’s Gatecrasher to bitch about Tyra and her “brutal” methods:

“The Tyra Banks Show” may be over, but her former employees have only just begun to spill about what it was really like to work on the CW gabfest. And we hate to break it to you TyTy, but it’s not all good.

“There had been high turnover of employees for years,” a past crew member says, insisting that many people quit after just a few months because it was “pretty difficult to work for Tyra.”

“She and the higher-ups on the production staff could be extremely brutal,” the source says. “She really is a diva.”

An industry source who has worked on the show agreed, adding, “Everything had to be done Tyra’s way.”

But to her credit, Miz Banks isn’t the only one who thinks that her way is the right way: the show earned two Daytime Emmys over its relatively short five-season span. And another former staffer who worked closely with Banks says the 36-year-old indeed knows how to make good TV.

“Honestly, I don’t know how it would be to work under her,” says the snitch, who served in a high-level position. “But for me, it was a good experience. Tyra just knows how she likes things done. And as for her ‘diva-ness,’ well, it sells.”

So why stop now?

Banks released a statement this week insisting she wants to focus on launching her film company, Bankable Studios, which she says will bring “positive images of women to the big screen.”

But it may be her own image that needs polishing. Reports surfaced yesterday that Banks told the press that her show was coming to an end before she even alerted her staff – and according to some past employees, that’s more than likely.

“It wouldn’t be surprising,” our first source says. “When the show moved from L.A. to New York, several staffers weren’t even directly told about the change – they heard through the grapevine that it was going to move locations. Even so, a lot of those people gave up their lives on the West Coast so they could continue working for the show. Now they’re out of luck.”

Reps for the show didn’t respond to calls for comment by deadline.

[From Gatecrasher]

On one side, I think that the way Tyra is being described – brutal, diva, difficult – are just misogynistic code words for “having a female boss and getting your panties in a twist over her.” On the other side, you couldn’t pay me to work for Tyra, because I have absolutely no doubt she’s a pill. I can totally believe that Tyra treated her employees like dirt, and I think Tyra’s unprofessional behavior was probably the catalyst for her employees’ unprofessional behavior, in bitching about her to the tabloids. And not telling them that they’ve only got jobs for a few more months? That does make her a bitch, in my book.

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36 Responses to “Tyra Banks’ employees say she’s a “brutal, difficult diva””

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  1. diva says:

    Tyra is a hypocrite, on one hand she is all about girl power and says she wants to bring positive images to the screen. I’m sure the majority of her staff were women and she certainly wasn’t treating them in a very positive girl power type of manner. She strikes me as phoney and narcisstic. I never thought she was pretty enough to be modeling in the first place, she needs a ton of makeup and weave to look presentable.

  2. Telly says:

    No more baby hair PLEASE!!!!!!!

  3. Amneh says:

    I don’t like Tyra; she’s too self righteous. If you notice, in all her recent photos she doesn’t smile, she opens her eyes real wide in what I can only imagine to be an effort at “smizing”

  4. C-DUB says:

    It’s Trya’s show. Her name is one it so of course everything had to be done her way.

    Bitches get things done. The “source” in the story didn’t even work directly with Tyra. It’s the real world folks, jobs come and go. Get over it.

  5. macaquinha says:

    well… her role model wasn’t oprah?

    congratulations then you’ve made it tyra

  6. bella says:

    Decidedly un-nice to move your show to the opposite coast without ample notice to your employees (Are you listening, All My Children? Or whichever soap you are?). Even more un-nice to force all those loyal enough to relocate with you to then face unemployment. Uh-uh. Not nice at all!

  7. ashley says:

    what always pisses me off about her is how every thing is about her
    You can be on her show and it can be about abuse, and you could tell her a story about how you were beaten and tortured for hours and she could look back at you with a straight face and say something to the effect of “I have never personally been abused, but in a photo shoot in jamaica, in a tiny bikini, I had to evoke that emotion into my eyes, so I DO feel your pain my sister.”
    Really Tyra?
    I won’t miss her, but I do feel sorry for the staff, they deserved a heads up

  8. Obvious says:

    Down with Tyra-bot. My old roommates and I watched ANTM all the time, new eps and the old ones. And if you watch as the seasons progress she gets nastier and bitchier and less hands on.

    This girl is a negative model of women in management positions, and her attitude has nagatively impacted the “girl power” image she says she wants.

    Tyra you are a hypocrite and b*tch. There is no reason not to tell your staff before the news outlets that you’re canceling the show-their lively hood. These people have families and while it is your show and your decision you just showed us all that you don’t respect the “little” people who have made you who you are today.

  9. Jeane says:

    C-DUB I agree.

    I can’t stand Tyra and her stupid show, but it is HER SHOW. OF COURSE she wants things done exactly her way. It’s her name and image on the line. She will be held responsible by the public for everything that goes on that show.
    And truth is, when you want to get things done your way, you have to be one tough bitch. I’m sure we all have experienced co workers that were lazy and/or stupid. Imagine having people like that working for you, that’s even more annoying.

    And maybe she didn’t tell her employees that she was ending the show because she didn’t want people to blab about it to the tabloids before she had a chance to make an official statement. It happens all the time when companies get taken over. The employees are ALWAYS the last to know. And it’s not like these people will be out of a job by next week. The season wraps in spring 2010, so that’s more than enough time to find a new job.

    GOD I can’t believe I just defended Tyra Banks. May I again state how much I can’t stand that woman?

  10. lovelylaura says:

    My husband’s best friend was one of her LA employees who moved to New York to work on the show. The first two years were really tough for him, but now he has a great place to live and a wonderful girlfriend – and no job in a few months. He called us in tears Monday when he told us he may have to move back to LA and start all over again. He’s never said a bad word about her (but nothing great, either…) All I know is that I’ll be so happy when he’s finally finished working with the “Tyrant” Banks show!

  11. gg says:

    Too bad the word “diva” means nothing but “hateful bitch” these days. It used to mean something a talented singer would take decades to earn.

  12. pickelhaube says:


    Yes, most women who are into that whole “female empowerment” garbage are usually the women who are the most jealous, catty and downright vicious to other women. So much for the sisterhood and all that crap, right? LOL. There is not enough money in the world to get me to work for a woman, and I don’t doubt for a minute that Tyra is a b*tch. Sorry, but in my personal experience, 99.9% of women are, which is why I stay the hell away from them whenever possible and NEVER EVER allow myself to be in a position where they have any sort of power over me. Life is so much easier if you follow that one rule…and I am a woman myself. It is so not worth the headache and hassle.

    Oh, and if you are a thin and pretty woman, watch out. If you work for a woman, your life WILL be hell on Earth. So my advice goes double for them.

  13. wow says:

    Yeah, pretty much what Kaiser said.

  14. javelin says:

    Well congratulations, bitter employees, you’ve just whined your way out of the autographed Vaseline Tyra had planned to lavish on you as a parting gift.

  15. Essie says:

    Well, these poor employees!! They weren’t told the show was ending. Well, boo-freaking-hoo!! Join the club. You are lower-level employees without any say in what your boss does. How many of the people who are unemployed these days were given several months’ notice that they would lose their jobs? Not many, I assure you. Most of them found out on the day they were called into an office and given the news. How do these people working for a TV show think they deserve more? Tyra did not owe them anything. They are getting several months’ notice that they will have to look for other jobs. That’s better than most people are getting these days. I’m sure the upper-level, important people working for Tyra knew as soon as she knew she wanted the show to end. That’s because they are IMPORTANT and not some lackeys like these whiners. Get over yourselves and start updating your resumes!! Jeez people!! I hate whiners!! Seriously!!

  16. Orangejulius says:

    Ty-ty has an ego the size of the great outdoors.

  17. lola says:

    i am with C-DUB:
    its her show and i don t belive the story anyways.

  18. Dhavy says:

    I never watch the show but if you put yourself in a situation where it’s your business and you need to do what’s best to stay afloat you’re required to become a bitch or an ahole. I don’t work for hollywood but I do work for a big nxt day carrier and it works the same way, actually it feels like Im talking about work! Gee

  19. Maria says:

    not surprising- assumed, really.

  20. chim9999 says:

    rolmfao @ essie. cruel to see it written that way but true.

  21. Firestarter says:

    YAY! No more Tyra! Now if we could only get Dr.Phil to call it a day!

  22. Madisyn says:

    PICKELHAUBE, I’m also a female and couldn’t agree more. Hated working for women, loved working for men. When I was younger it was jealousy sometimes, now that I’m older, its competency that puts some women off. If I can avoid working directly under a female, like you, I do!

  23. StoryMe says:

    I don’t understand why being protective of your image and wanting things done your way is interpreted by the masses as a license to be so cold and insensitive to the people who help you to make and keep that image. She crapped on her Top Model story folks when they (imagine) asked for basic health care and a pension which would have cost a whopping sparrow fart to the show rather than lose a public battle, and has stated in the press that she’s so cheap that if you drink half a bottle of water on her show, it’ll be waiting for you the next time you come back. She does a lot of good for a number of causes that all have her name and image right up front, but when it comes to caring for your own, well, there’s no headlines in that.

  24. Bete says:

    I don’t think there is anything misogynistic about the descriptions. She is so narcissistic to think that her famous filmed tantrum on Top Model was normal. It spoke volumes about her instability and nastiness. Whether male or female, control freaks are the most horrible people to work for.

  25. Michael says:

    My friend was actually on her show a few weeks ago, and he couldn’t believe how she screamed at people and threw fits.
    I said “dude, she is a super model. She is going to get her way.” What kind of positive image does she want to portray for women? That they should be super thin, wear fake hair, and only dress from top designers? I hate that b#@ch.

  26. k says:

    kinda glad she’s gone. I stopped watching already simply b/c everything was about her. She is not genuine. She’s pretty fake and contradicts herself when she tells “stories”.

    When she’s talking to someone she brings it back to her. It’s just rude.

    She’s that annoying friend you have that can’t stand anyone else in the light. You know the one you “accidently” miss their phone calls.

    Ya and top model sucks! None of those winners are top models!! I have seen a couple in ads, but that’s nothing. I’d expect that from their free John Casablanca type training from tyra.

    No wonder that lady can’t find a man.

    i don’t think she’s cheap I think she’s a controling nagging hag!!! who got too old and fat to model, or maybe she just burned bridges in the industry.

  27. K-Love says:

    Somebody likes Tyra, everything she puts her hands too, is a success. I don’t think she cares what others think about her, because she is laughing all the way to the bank. I give her props for all the young models she has helped with ANTM. That woman has changed lives in a positive way. One model even used Tyra’s name as her stage name. I am not a fan of her’s either, but I do try to give credit where credit is due.

  28. slymm27 says:

    Essie….shut the hell up..So the people at the lower level deserve nothing because they are not important???

  29. Nia says:

    I agree that working for a woman can be tough. As much as we want to rise above it, sometimes we are slaves to our biology. Especially insecure unattractive and coldhearted people. I am a female and the only times I’ve had less than good job experiences is when I’ve worked for women. I have a decent work ethic and have had success in college and most workplaces (have a lot of job experience)so do not think it had much to do with competence as much as just plain jealousy. Not all female bosses are bad, though! Unfortunately both times I had bad experiences were with female bosses that are pretty overweight and not that attractive. I never judged them, but now I do. One of them was getting married and don’t know how that happened. She was ugly on the inside and out. And took credit for my work. Ugh-
    I don’t know Tyra personally, but it seems anyone in her industry that gets that far probably plays the phony game. I give her credit for working so hard and achieving success. But I don’t like judging people before I know them.

  30. prissa says:

    All these comments about women in power being b!tches makes me wonder what having a womwan president would REALLY be like. That’s the most powerful job in the US…

  31. She looks it. Haha. Kidding. No judging. I’m kinda excited to see what the new project it, though.

  32. PigskinMama says:

    Too bad Tyra isn’t retiring this year. Hasn’t she run out of topics for her show and America’s Next Top Model is way past it’s sell by date. Why doesn’t she get mor einto charity work and give us all a break.

  33. Ally says:

    I’ve had over half a dozen female bosses during my career, and only one was difficult. So about 80% were great. The rate among my male bosses was more like 50%-50% — a lot more territoriality. We each have our own experience, however — it’s not fair to generalize from that to everyone.

    It is true, however, that we may expect female bosses to have a more nurturing, consultative style, whereas we are not surprised when men in leadership positions are authoritative and direct without having to couch everything in friendliness, “please”s and non-threatening behaviors.

    On the other hand, Tyra seems undoubtedly a jerk regardless of gender. She seemed great the first season of ANTM, and then her head began to swell…

  34. Greg says:

    OK, so describing Tyra as brutal, difficult, and ‘diva’ is “misogynistic code words for having a female boss and getting your panties in a twist over her, yet you calling her a “pill”, a “bitch”, and treating people like dirt is what, exactly?!

    Do you read what you write before you post it?

    It was most likely women who made these comments.

    Reading your hateful blog, one would have to conclude that you are a misanthropist. (Look it up)

  35. For Sooth? says:

    I’ve had good experiences with female bosses. It’s female co-workers that drove me nuts. Most often they were the ones on the phone with everyone and their mother all day long, chatting about personal issues and gossip. Their workload never was done at the end of the day and we all ended up putting in overtime because of it. They would complain that the supervisors expected too much of them. Yeah, if you view the work place as a social club. It’s business people. They expect people to be there WORKING. My son, as a supervisor, has the same issue. But you can’t point this out in the modern world because you will get a discrimination complaint in the blink of an eye.

    More on topic, Tyra needs to balance her control a bit. I do believe she is hard to work for, it shows on her face during every program. You know the look after a cock up happens. The look of “Who dared to fart in my presence? Off with your head!”.

  36. Rob says:

    My Husband works for Tyra. First of all the last day of taping is Feb 17th. That is not the spring.. The show had just been renewed, The employees found out after Tyra went to the media, People she is a monster!!!!!