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Ellen DeGeneres issues grovelling apology to staff amid investigation into ‘racism and intimidation’ on her show

Josh Milton July 31, 2020
Ellen DeGeneres

The Ellen DeGeneres Show has become the subject of an internal investigation by WarnerMedia (Brooks Kraft/Getty)

Ellen DeGeneres ended weeks of silence while her former staff grabbed megaphones by issuing an emotional apology, stressing that she will seek to “correct the issues” moving forward.

The “issues” plaguing The Ellen DeGeneres Show are plentiful, according to a volley of ex and current staff who have show salvos after salvos against DeGeneres, 62, and her senior-ranking employees across this year.

Some have spoken of a workplace culture rankled by racism, intimidation and fear. Others have levelled claims that executives engaged in rampant sexual misconduct and harassment.

It’s the latest flashpoint for the daytime talk show, who has not only seen her sprawling mansion be targeted by burglars but has seen her finely-curated reputation as a beacon of optimism by chiselled away by a slew of allegations of her “mean” behaviour.

It even prompted WarnerMedia to launch an internal investigation into the NBC show.

Ellen DeGeneres: ‘Anyone who knows me knows it’s the opposite of what I believe and what I hoped for our show.’

In the letter, US Weekly reported, DeGeneres said: “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.”

DeGeneres also said that she often “relied on others to do their jobs as they knew I’d want them done. Cleary some didn’t.”

She continued: “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.

Ellen DeGeneres
Ellen DeGeneres broadcasting her chat show from home. (YouTube/The Ellen Show)

“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.”

One former member of staff said her happy persona is “bulls**t [that] only happens when the cameras are on”. Another claimed she fired people for attending family funerals or taking medical leave, and alleged that producers joked two Black employees looked similar.

The flood gates opened this year after one of Ellen’s ex-employees, Kevin T Porter, described her as “one of the meanest people alive” in a winding Twitter thread.

Spikes have, over the years, been thrown by celebrities, former employees and viewers under the comedian’s feet. She has always denied them, once saying to the New York Times: “That bugs me if someone is saying [that she’s not nice] because it’s an outright lie.”

Ellen show producers: ‘We realise, as many in the world are learning, that we need to do better.’

In a statement to BuzzFeed, The Ellen DeGeneres Show’s executive producers Ed Glavin, Mary Connelly and Andy Lassner sought to extinguish the accusations by emphasising that the show’s leaders

“Over the course of nearly two decades, 3,000 episodes, and employing more than 1,000 staff members, we have strived to create an open, safe, and inclusive work environment,” they said in the joint statement.

“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 realise, as many in the world are learning, that we need to do better, are committed to do better, and we will do better.”

More: Ellen DeGeneres, NBC, racism, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, TV, US, WarnerMedia

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