The Ellen DeGeneres Show has been taking a lot of heat amidst toxic work culture allegations against top producers on the show. Host Ellen DeGeneres addresses these allegations in a letter to her crew stating that she takes responsibility for the toxic work environment and distress of her employees and is now working to “correct the issues” going forward.
The comedian acknowledges the irony that the show is no longer a place of happiness as she tells her employees that the show would not be what it is without their efforts and that she is glad these issues have been brought to her attention.
The plethora of allegations from anonymous employees included accusations of intimidation, racism, an extremely toxic work culture, and unjust termination. After Buzzfeed News published the allegations earlier this month, Telepictures parent WarnerMedia launched an in-house investigation, which is now said to be almost complete.
In Buzzfeed’s initial report about the unhealthy work environment on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, a former employee said “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.”
Another employee remarked that “People focus on rumors about how Ellen is mean and everything like that, but that's not the problem. The issue is these three executive producers running the show who are in charge of all these people and who make the culture and are putting out this feeling of bullying and being mean,”
While there has been no direct comment from talk show host nor Warner Brothers in regards to who will be let go of, two sources told THR an executive producer, Ed Gavin, who has some of the harsher claims against him, is said to be fired.
Gavin previously noted that he and the other executive producers- Mary Connelly and Andy Lassner- take these allegations very seriously. They said "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."
Gavin also told Buzzfeed, “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."
The Hollywood Reporter obtained the letter sent out to DeGeneres’ crew:
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.