Ellen DeGeneres has sent an emotional message to the staff of her television talk show following accusations of a hostile working environment.
In an email, DeGeneres said she was taking steps to improve the culture on set.
Here’s what we know about the complaints from current and former staff who worked on her show.
Where did the allegations come from?
The allegations were made by several former staff members in a BuzzFeed article published in early July.
The article painted a radically different view of life behind the cameras from the upbeat and positive vibe presented by DeGeneres on the show.
DeGeneres’ memo and the probe by the studio’s parent company followed a BuzzFeed News report in which one current and 10 former show employees complained about issues including being fired after taking medical or bereavement leave.
One worker said she left because of comments about her race.
Most of the complaints were tied to executive producers and senior managers, BuzzFeed News said, but one ex-employee said DeGeneres needed to take more responsibility for the work environment.
The people making the allegations have not been identified.
There’s been an internal investigation into the claims
Warner Bros Television, which produces The Ellen DeGeneres Show, has conducted an internal investigation of complaints ranging from bullying to racism among production staff.
Warner Bros Television said in a statement that although “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.”
It said several staffing changes and other measures were being implemented, but did not give details.
What did she say in her message?
DeGeneres wrote that she has “deep compassion” for people who are treated unfairly or disregarded.
She said that comes from someone who has been judged for “who I am”, who has detailed the price she paid for being openly gay.
“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 in the email.
“It’s been way too long, but we’re finally having conversations about fairness and justice,” DeGeneres said, adding that she would push herself and others to “learn and grow.”
“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.”
DeGeneres, whose show has won dozens of awards in its 17 years on the air, also referred to criticism levelled at her personally in recent media reports.
“I am also 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.
The message ended with, “Stay safe and healthy” and “Love, Ellen.”
DeGeneres said the COVID-19 pandemic kept her from delivering her comments in person to staffers, and the email was later made available to reporters.
Published at Thu, 30 Jul 2020 22:21:00 +0000