Last week, DeGeneres, 62, sent out an apology memo to all staff members on her show in the wake of a Buzzfeed report which collated stories from 10 former and one current Ellen employee – all speaking anonymously – who described a “toxic work environment” with a culture of “racism, fear and intimidation”.
The Ellen Show is now also facing an internal company investigation by WarnerMedia after dozens of employees came forward in a new bombshell report, alleging sexual harassment and misconduct by some of the show’s top executive producers.
Staff at DeGeneres’ show have also hit back at the apology letter she sent out last week, branding her a “phony” and claiming anyone who complained to her about the ongoing issues “would’ve been fired”.
“Don’t think for a minute anything she has said in that apology means anything. She created and then enabled this toxic culture to go on for so long,” one staffer told the Daily Mail.
“If anyone had come to her or those three (executive producers) to complain, they would’ve been fired.”
In her apology letter, DeGeneres admitted she hadn’t been “able to stay on top of everything” as her brand grew.
“My name is on the show and everything we do and I take responsibility for that,” she wrote.
“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.”
DeGeneres promised to do her “part” in pushing herself and others “to learn and grow”.
“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,” she said.
“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.”
Meanwhile, in a statement to People last week, a spokesman for Warner Bros said the company is “disappointed” that “the primary findings of the investigation indicated some deficiencies related to the show’s day-to-day management”.
The spokesman added that Warner Bros has now “identified several staffing changes, along with appropriate measures to address the issues that have been raised, and are taking the first steps to implement them”.
“Warner Bros and Ellen DeGeneres are all committed to ensuring a workplace based on respect and inclusion. We are confident this course of action will lead us to the right way forward for the show,” the statement said.
It came after The Ellen Show’s three executive producers, Mary Connelly, Andy Lassner and Ed Glavin, released a statement taking full responsibility for the workplace issues.
“Over the course of nearly two decades, 3000 episodes and employing over 1000 staff members, we have strived to create an open, safe and inclusive work environment,” they said in a joint statement to BuzzFeed News last month.
“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.”