Ellen DeGeneres apologises following reports of a toxic environment on her show
Warner Bros has announced it will make staffing changes following an investigation into claims of a toxic work environment on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
DeGeneres, one of the most high-profile figures on US TV, also apologised to staff after an internal review found “deficiencies related to the show’s day-to-day management”.
Warner Bros said it had identified several staffing changes as well as “appropriate measures to address the issues that have been raised”.
It comes after a Buzzfeed News investigation made a series of claims about the alleged toxic culture on the day time talk show that has been on the air since 2003.
DeGeneres, a comedian and actress, is known for her bubbly on-screen persona and “be kind” mantra, often taking part in lavish giveaways or acts of charity.
Buzzfeed spoke to former employees who made allegations of racism, unfair dismissal, intimidation and an overall toxic environment, perpetuated by the show’s senior producers.
In a memo to staff obtained by the PA news agency, DeGeneres apologised and said: “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. 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.”
DeGeneres, who boasts a string of A-list friends, said as the show had grown she had relied on others to “do their jobs as they knew I’d want them done”.
“Clearly some didn’t,” she said. “That will now change and I’m committed to ensuring this does not happen again.”
DeGeneres famously came out as gay in 1997 amid fevered media interest. She referenced the experience in her memo to staff.
The 62-year-old 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.”
She finished the note by saying she is “so proud” of the show and apologised again to staff.
“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,” DeGeneres said.
Warner Bros added: “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.”