Explosive Scandal: Ellen DeGeneres’ Toxic Workplace Environment.

The current drama in Hollywood.

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Emily Eigenbrode

 Ellen has previously been described as the caring, giving, and likeable comedian daytime host.  However, recent allegations suggest those characteristics might not be true. Ellen has made millions off of her “Be kind” motto, but behind the scenes, current and former employees on her daytime show say that they faced racism, fear, and intimidation while working with her. Back in early spring this year rumors started surfacing. But it wasn’t until Comedian Kevin T. Porter got the ball rolling by creating a twitter thread where he talked about Ellen as “Notoriously one of the meanest people alive.”  Ellen might seem happy and caring on TV but is that how she is in real life?

      There were several allegations about Ellen, a few being workers were not allowed to look Ellen in the eyes, Ellen would pick on a new person everyday to hate, and that Ellen tried to fire an individual for wearing chipped nail polish while serving her food. 

     But the allegations haven’t only been directed at Ellen, some  are also directed at  producers of the show as well. In April, crew members revealed that producers said nothing about the status of their working hours or pay during the pandemic until months later. An article from Variety reports that crew members were told they would receive major pay reductions and anger increased when they were told the at home tapings would be filmed by a non-union company. They were told that Warner Brothers Television kept the crew in mind during their decision making process, but that obviously was not correct. Although Ellen has received allegations, many former employees blame the executive producers and senior managers for the toxic workplace. A former employee stated, “ultimately, it’s Ellen’s name on the show and she really needs to take more responsibility for the workplace environment.” It’s believed that producers want Ellen to be happy so they tell her everything is fine, and everything great, and she believed just that. 

     Following public reports of toxic workplace in Variety and Buzzfeed, the Ellen Degeneres show was placed under internal investigation by WarnerMedia.  The investigation would entail interviews with past and current employees. A statement later came out with executive producers Ed Galvin, Mary Connelly, and Andy Lassner releasing a joint statement taking full responsibility for the show’s daily operations. 

     In late July, Ellen publicly addressed the allegations. In a letter to her staff, it seems as if she avoided discussing specific complaints but rather just talked about the toxic workplace. Although she didn’t reveal much, she did apologize and promise things would change. In a statement to Entertainment Weekly, Warner Bros. gave an update into the investigation saying WarnerMedia found “deficiencies” in how the show was run. Without naming names, the company also revealed that there would be several staffing changes made. There was also found to be 36 unnamed former employees alleging incidents of harassment, assault from top producers, inappropriate behavior, etc. DeGeneres apologized again to her staff in an emotional Zoom meeting on Aug. 17, during which employees learned that Glavin, Leman, and Norman were departing the show. Mary Connelly, Andy Lassner, and Derek Westervelt would stay on as EPs, according to Variety.

    Although many celebrities have criticized Ellen, many have also shown support. One of her biggest supporters, Kevin Hart, was photographed having lunch on August 16 with her, and Hart vouched for her in an interview. An Instagram post made by Kevin stated, “It’s crazy to see my friend go through what she’s going through publicly. I have known Ellen for years and I can honestly say that she’s one of the dopest people on the planet. She has treated my family and my team with love and respect from day 1…Love you for life Ellen.” 

     Katy Perry also shared a positive message about Ellen on twitter. Speaking from her personal firsthand experiences with her, she wanted to acknowledge that she has only ever had positive takeaways from both Ellen and her show. One tweet stated, “I think we all have witnessed the light & continual fight for equality that she has brought to the world through her platform for decades…Sending you love & a hug, friend.” Perry also talked about how this was just her experience with her and other people might have had a different experience with her. Other Celebrities standing by Ellen include Scooter Braun, Ashton Kutcher, and Alec Baldwin. 

    However, Brad Garrett, the Everybody Loves Raymond star, called her out over Twitter a few days later. Garrett has appeared on the Ellen Degeneres show many times, but that didn’t stop him from bashing her over social media. Although he did not necessarily personally bash Ellen, he indirectly called out not only Ellen but the Producers by saying, “Sorry but it comes from the top ⁦@TheEllenShow.” He also talked about knowing several people who were treated horribly by her and adding that her rude behavior towards employees was “Common Knowledge”. 

     For weeks, many people have been wondering whether she would issue an apology. Just before Ellen’s season 18 premiere, she did address the allegations on air. In her monologue she joked that this summer has been, “great.” Anyone following this story obviously knows that is not the case. During her monologue she stated, “As you many have heard, this summer there were allegations of a toxic work environment at our show and then there was an investigation. I learned that things happened here that never should have happened. I take that very seriously and I want to say I am so sorry to the people that were affected. I know that I am in a position of privilege and power and with that comes responsibility and I take responsibility for what happens at my show,” DeGeneres said. Many people took her apologies as blaming her staff and not taking direct responsibility for her own actions. 

     Ellen has been an inspiration and idol for many but recent allegations have left people wondering what they really think of her. Celebrities have stood by Ellen and many have also watched her authority/fame decline. By now, you can probably guess what happened to The Ellen DeGeneres show’s ratings after the allegations. Ratings fell to an all time low after the allegations surfaced. Rumors have been surfacing on whether her show will get canceled but as of now it looks like there’s no end in sight for the near future. Ellen announced that the show will continue until at least 2022 unless it gets renewed again. Ellen has gone through a lot of problems this year, but that hasn’t stopped her from continuing to do what she loves while hopefully learning from the past.