The Ellen DeGeneres Show is under investigation after multiple sources accused the show’s host of presiding over a toxic work environment.
After multiple allegations that DeGeneres is demeaning to guests on her talk show and treats staff poorly, WarnerMedia, the parent company of Warner Bros. Television, has launched an investigation, according to Variety. The company has hired a third party firm who will interview current and former staffers about their on-set experiences.
The investigation comes on the heels of many unflattering reports that allege mistreatment and even racism on set. In April, the core stage crew, which consists of more than 30 employees, alleged they had been mistreated during the coronavirus pandemic, receiving no written communication about their working hours or pay after the show transitioned to being filmed in DeGeneres’ home.
Earlier this month, Buzzfeed interviewed one current and ten former employees of the show. One Black woman who used to work on the show told the outlet that she experienced racist comments, actions, and microaggressions during her year and a half on the show. She also spoke up about issues of race and representation, objecting to someone’s use of the indigenous term “spirit animal,” and said she was reprimanded by executive producer Ed Glavin.
Glavin, as well as fellow executive producers Andy Lassner and Mary Connelly, addressed the employees’ allegations in a joint statement to Buzzfeed.
“We are truly heartbroken and sorry to learn that even one person in our production family has had a negative experience,” the statement said. “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, are committed to do better, and we will do better.”
While most of the interviewed employees blamed executive producers and other senior managers for the day-to-day toxicity, one said that ultimately DeGeneres “needs to take more responsibility” for the workplace environment because of her name being tied to the show.
However, there have been allegations made by guests of her show and other employees that reflect poorly on DeGeneres herself. YouTuber Nikkie de Jager, who made an appearance on the show, accused the host of being “cold and distant,” and DeGeneres’ former body guard called her “demeaning” and “very cold.”