Published Jul 28, 2020Whether you're half asleep on a sick day, waiting around the dentist's office or spending some quality time with your mom, there's no denying that The Ellen DeGeneres Show is a soothing televised balm that offers gentle chuckles and occasional viral content. But behind the scenes, the show has been accused of harbouring a toxic work environment.
Earlier this month, BuzzFeed spoke to one current employee and 10 former employees of the show, all of whom painted a portrait of a toxic work environment. Now, Variety reports that the show is being investigated by WarnerMedia's employee relations group, as well as a third party firm, who will interview current and former staffers about their experience on set.
In the BuzzFeed piece, executives at the show were accused of striking fear and intimidation in their employees, some of whom claim they were fired after taking medical leave or bereavement days to attend funerals.
Further, executives on the show were accused of racist behaviour, including making jokes about mistaking two Black employees for one another and calling a Black staffer "the PC police" when she asked writers to stop using the phrase "my spirit animal."
Ellen herself came up in the complaints as employees claim they were told not to speak to her directly if they saw her around the office.
"That 'be kind' bullshit only happens when the cameras are on. It's all for show," one former employee told BuzzFeed. "I know they give money to people and help them out, but it's for show."
At the time of the BuzzFeed piece, the show's Ed Glavin, Andy Lassner and Mary Connelly shared a joint statement.
"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," the group said in a joint statement. "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."
The third party that is investigating The Ellen DeGeneres Show has not been revealed.