UPDATE: Dozens of former employees from “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” have spoken out about several alleged incidents of sexual misconduct and harassment by top executives on the show, according to a Buzzfeed Newsreport on Thursday night. Several ex-staffers, all speaking anonymously, accused executive producer Kevin Leman behaving inappropriately at a company party in 2013 and in May 2017. Almost a dozen former workers said Leman would make sexually explicit comments in the office regularly, frequently toward lower-level and younger employees.
Following the launch of an investigation into the workplace culture at her daytime talk show, Ellen DeGeneres has personally addressed her staff and apologized for numerous, unspecified transgressions on set.
DeGeneres acknowledged a culture that did not reflect the values with which she started the 17-year-old franchise, and pledged to do better. In addition, insiders familiar with the series said executive producer Ed Glavin is set to exit his role imminently.
“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,” DeGeneres wrote.
“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,” she continued.
A Warner Bros. spokesperson had no comment on Glavin, but did send a statement regarding the formal investigation, which Variety broke news of on Monday.
“We have 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 read.
Glavin was part of a trio of senior producers closest to DeGeneres, which included Andy Lassner and Mary Connelly. Lassner and Connelly will remain on board, said sources, as they were not the subject of staff complaints.
A July investigative report from BuzzFeed detailed numerous accusations of intimidation and racism on set, some specifically mentioning Glavin. In April, Variety reported of outraged stage crew who had been kept in the dark at the start of coronavirus lockdowns, who watched as non-union crews helped the host launch her show from home.
Human resources representatives from Telepictures, the producer of “Ellen,” and distributor Warner Bros. Television sent a memo to staff on July 22, seeking interviews with former and current employees about their day-to-day experiences on the show.
“WarnerMedia interviewed dozens of current and former employees about the environment at ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show.’ It was important to both Warner Bros. and Ellen that as many people as possible attached to the program could be heard,” a statement from WBTV said of the process.
Read DeGeneres’ full note to staff:
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.