A video from 2013 has surfaced showing Ellen DeGeneres joking about not wanting to pay her staff for working overtime.
The video came to light after the recent accusations laid that The Ellen DeGeneres Show is a "toxic workplace."
The 62-year-old seems to be falling deeper into the sinkhole after her interview with Australia’s Today which features her joking to reporter Richard Wilkins about wanting "everybody to work really, really hard... but not too hard that I have to pay them overtime."
In the video, she claimed that she could change if she wanted to, adding that she could do anything as she was “Ellen.” The resurfaced video adds another layer to the investigation by her show’s producer Warner Media following a series of accusations laid out by her show staffers about turning a blind eye to toxic work culture, racism and bullying.
Her former employees spoke to Buzzfeed News about the “toxic work environment.” The staffers have decided to remain anonymous for fear of retribution.
Buzzfeed, in its report, said that staff members claimed to have been fired from work after taking medical leave or bereavement to attend family funerals.
A black woman who used to work with DeGeneres had told the website that she experienced “racist comments, actions, and microaggressions” during her time as an employee at the show. The accusations laid out were serious as she added that a white woman at a company party had told her that she only knew the names of white people who worked there.
In their response to the Buzzfeed story, the show's producers said that they took the accusations “very seriously.”.
"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," the response letter read.
"We are truly heartbroken and sorry to learn that even one person in our production family has had a negative experience,” it continued. “It’s not who we are and not who we strive to be, and not the mission Ellen has set for us.”
They added that they “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.”
In her response, DeGeneres sent a letter to her staff, promising to do her part in pushing herself and everyone around her to “learn and grow.”
The Hollywood Reporter obtained the letter in full.
Hey everybody – it’s Ellen. 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.
I could not have the success I’ve had without all of your contributions. My name is on the show and everything we do and I take responsibility for that. Alongside Warner Bros, we immediately began an internal investigation and we are taking steps, together, to correct the issues. As we’ve grown exponentially, I’ve not been able to stay on top of everything and relied on others to do their jobs as they knew I’d want them done. Clearly some didn’t. That will now change and I’m committed to ensuring this does not happen again.
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. 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.
It’s been way too long, but we’re finally having conversations about fairness and justice. We all have to be more mindful about the way our words and actions affect others, and I’m glad the issues at our show were brought to my attention. I promise to do my part in continuing to push myself and everyone around me to learn and grow. It’s important to me and to Warner Bros. that everyone who has something to say can speak up and feels safe doing so.
I am so proud of the work we do and the fun and joy we all help put out in the world. I want everyone at home to love our show and I want everyone who makes it to love working on it. Again, I’m so sorry to anyone who didn’t have that experience. If not for COVID, I’d have done this in person, and I can’t wait to be back on our stage and see you all then.
Stay safe and healthy.