Following reports describing a toxic work culture on her show, Ellen DeGeneres has apologized to staff in a letter addressing the accusations and the subsequent internal investigation.
In a letter to her crew obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, DeGeneres said she was disappointed to learn that people working on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” were not treated with respect. Earlier this month, a BuzzFeed News report detailed accusations of racism, fear and intimidation on the job, citing interviews with nearly a dozen current and former staff members. Some sources said they faced unjust termination for taking medical or family bereavement days amid a toxic work culture that was largely blamed on the show’s executive producers and senior management staff.
“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,” DeGeneres wrote in the memo first published by The Hollywood Reporter. “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,” she continued.
Though she implied that she was not personally involved in workplace issues at the long-running daytime talk show, DeGeneres said she was committed to ensuring they do not recur.
“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 said.
Warner Bros. confirmed to HuffPost on Thursday that an internal investigation was conducted. Its owner, WarnerMedia, interviewed dozens of current and former employees, the company said in a statement:
“Though not all of the allegations were corroborated, we are disappointed that the primary findings of the investigation indicated some deficiencies related to the show’s day-to-day management. 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.”
According to multiple news sources, Ed Glavin, one of the show’s three executive producers, was singled out in the allegations and will likely be among those to depart. A Warner Bros. spokesperson did not comment on reports of Glavin’s possible exit.
Following the publication of the BuzzFeed report, Glavin, along with fellow executive producers Mary Connelly and Andy Lassner, said they were “heartbroken and sorry to learn that even one person in our production family has had a negative experience.”
“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,” their statement said.
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