An employee relations group and third party firm are to investigate allegations the Ellen DeGeneres Show has a ‘toxic’ workplace culture.
DeGeneres doesn’t face any accusations of wrongdoing herself. However, staff claim bosses at the show told them not to speak with her.
The 62-year-old TV host has long been the most visible lesbian in the United States, according to polls.
But one current and 10 past employees at the show have accused her show’s three executive producers, Ed Glavin, Mary Connelly and Andy Lassner, of ‘bullying’.
The show’s producer Telepictures and distributor Warner Bros Television have confirmed the investigation in a memo to staff. It will involve the WarnerMedia employee relations group and interview current and former staffers.
‘It’s not who we strive to be’
In a joint statement, Galvin, Connelly and Lassner said:
‘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. 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. We take all of this very seriously and we realize, as many in the world are learning, that we need to do better, are committed to do better, and we will do better.’
One black female employee said she suffered ‘microaggressions’. She said bosses ignored her request for a raise. And when she asked for staff to have diversity and inclusion training, they accused her of ‘walking around looking resentful and angry’.
Meanwhile another former employee claims to have been fired after taking a month’s medical leave following a suicide attempt.
Comic Kevin T Porter stirred up the subject on 20 March. He asked Twitter followers to post ‘insane’ tales of ‘Ellen being mean’.
Production staff were also angry in April when production shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. They had to take pay cuts but say bosses didn’t communicate properly and weren’t transparent with them.
Is Ellen out of touch?
Moreover, a former employee claimed Ellen is out of touch with what is happening behind the scenes:
‘If she wants to have her own show and have her name on the title, she needs to be more involved to see what’s going on.
‘I think the executive producers surround her and tell her “Things are going great, everybody’s happy,” and she just believes that. But it’s her responsibility to go beyond that.’
Meanwhile numerous past employees claim bosses told team members not to talk to Ellen or make eye-contact.
There are even claims she’d send staff home to shower if she thinks they smell. Moreover, employees allegedly had to chew gum from a bowl outside her office before going into a meeting with her.
DeGeneres has been filming her show from her LA mansion during lockdown, which she shares with wife Portia De Rossi.
But that too has seen critics claim she is out of touch. She described lockdown in the luxurious home as ‘like being in jail’.
Earlier this month, production company Telepictures said rumors the Ellen Show faces cancellation are untrue. There have been claims DeGeneres may quit the show this summer for around two years.