Too little, too late?
At long last, Ellen DeGeneres has addressed the unexpected and disturbing elephant that has been coming into our living rooms for years.
In a letter to her staff, the comedian has commented on numerous reports that have labeled her talk show set as a toxic work environment.
This marks the first time Ellen has said anything about the many accusations out there, all of which have painted her and other executives in very poor light.
Wrote the star:
“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.”
Over the past few weeks, a multitude of sources have alleged that crew members are treated horribly on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
Most damning of all, Buzzfeed News spoke to one current employee and 10 former employees this month — each of whom shared troubling stories of their time behind the scenes.
The ex-employees said they were fired after taking medical leave or bereavement days… faced microaggressions … and were subjected to favoritism by executive producers.
“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,” Ellen said in her letter, which went public on Thursday afternoon.
For years, DeGeneres pushed the motto Live. Laugh. Love.
She likely would have ranked near the bottom of most people’s list when asked which celebrity they believed would be a nightmare to work for.
Her talk show is now under investigation after former employees of color described the way they were treated.
One African-American woman who worked on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, for example, said she experienced what she outlined as “microaggressions” and was “reprimanded” by producer Ed Galvin.
What was her supposed transgression?
Asking for a raise and recommending staff members undergo diversity and inclusion training.
Another former employer told Buzzfeed about racist remarks by coworkers about her hairstyle… even stating that a senior-level producer told her and a fellow Black employee:
“Oh wow, you both have box braids; I hope we don’t get you confused.”
Most of these former staffers blamed executive produers and NOT DeGeneres directly for how they were treated.
But where does the buck stop, you know?
In her message, Ellen acknowledged that her “success” — which includes 30 Emmys and 20 People’s Choice Awards — would not have been possible “without all of your contributions.”
“My name is on the show and everything we do and I take responsibility for that,” she said.
For this reason, the comedian stated that she and Warner Bros. are working as a team to determine the next steps to “correct the issues” they found through an internal investigation.
“I’m 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,” she said.
“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.
“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.”
And she concluded:
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.
Previously, producers Glavin, Mary Connelly and Andy Lassner said in a statement they are taking the claims “very seriously,” adding:
“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 realize, as many in the world are learning, that we need to do better.
“[We are] committed to do better, and we will do better.”