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Film and TV

Ellen DeGeneres Show producer reveals what the embattled host is really like once the cameras stop rolling

Josh Milton August 6, 2020
Ellen DeGeneres' (L) bubbly personality is just 'in front of the camera', claims former producer Hedda Muskat. (Daniele Venturelli/WireImag via Getty Images/Screen capture via Inside Edition)

Ellen DeGeneres' (L) bubbly personality is just 'in front of the camera', claims former producer Hedda Muskat. (Daniele Venturelli/WireImag via Getty Images/Screen capture via Inside Edition)

A former top producer on The Ellen DeGeneres Show has called the embattled daytime talk show host a “toxic, phoney, hypocrite, liar” in an explosive hairplugs-and-all interview.

After a former employee asked what negative experiences, if any, people have had with DeGeneres, 62, earlier this year, what followed was a quick cascade of developments that have led to the host’s reputation be scathingly rebuked.

Allegations of racism, bullying and a playbook of DeGeneres “turning a blind eye” to rampant sexual misconduct by senior-level staffers have come to erode DeGeneres as viewers are stunned.

None of this is new to Hedda Muskat.

Former Ellen DeGeneres Show producer: ‘We all walked on eggshells all the time.’

Muskat, who joined the show when it launched in 2003 and went onto to win two Emmys before leaving in 2004, told Inside Edition that clocking-in and out each day: “It was very toxic, very nerve-wracking, very stressful, we all walked on eggshells all the time.

“We were told from the beginning, ‘Don’t talk to Ellen, don’t do this, you can’t go into her office.'”

Muskat openly challenged DeGeneres “queen of nice” track record, describing one particularly hostile experience with executive producer Ed Glavin.

Ellen DeGerenes
Ellen DeGeneres. (Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

“We were in our production meetings, and she would watch Ed go off on people,” Muskat said.

“Ellen would look at Ed and she would laugh, because I was hoping she was going to say, ‘Ed, you can’t be yelling at crew this way, you can’t be yelling at people this way.’

“She laughed and she said: ‘Every production needs their dog.’

“He took the role of being the attack dog [so] that she didn’t have to now be the attack dog. She didn’t have to yell.”

Muskat appeared to echo what many former staffers have spoken out about: How DeGeneres’ oasis of optimism ends once the cameras stop rolling.

When asked if she felt DeGeneres could change – something the personality had committed to do – Muskat’s answer was clear.

“No, because she should have apologised 16 years ago,” she said. “This environment, [this] toxic culture that she created in the office has been going on for 16 years.”

In a joint statement to BuzzFeed News, Ed Glavin and fellow executive producers Mary Connelly and Andy 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.”

More: Ed Glavin, Ellen DeGeneres, Hedda Muskat, racism, sexual misconduct, the ellen show

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