The 62-year-old comedian apologized and assured staff this won't happen again.
Ellen DeGeneres has finally broken her silence over claims of toxic working environment on her show.
The 62-year-old comedian's program has been under fire after several employees reported to have allegedly experienced racism, fear, intimidation, and sexual harassment while working for The Ellen DeGeneres show. WarnerMedia is set to conduct an internal investigation on Ellen's Emmy winning program.
The reports were pointed towards the top executive producers, and other senior staff of the show, and some former workers believed that Ellen might have been clueless about what's going on behind the camera.
On July 30, Ellen finally speaks out for the first time through a letter addressed to her staff.
In the letter obtained by US Weekly, Ellen wrote to her 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,"
"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."
Ellen also added that as the show grew bigger, she wasn't "able to stay on top of everything" and "relied on others to do their jobs" as they knew she'd want them, adding "Cleary, some didn't."
"I'm 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. 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 anyone of you felt that way is awful to me," Ellen added.
Ellen promised to fix the issues and assured her staff that she's "committed to ensuring this does not happen again."
The allegations against Ellen started in March 2020 after a comedian Kevin T. Porter started a twitter thread asking people to share personal encounters with "Ellen being mean."
Right now we all need a little kindness. You know, like Ellen Degeneres always talks about! 😊❤️— Kevin T. Porter (@KevinTPorter) March 20, 2020
She’s also notoriously one of the meanest people alive
Respond to this with the most insane stories you’ve heard about Ellen being mean & I’ll match every one w/ $2 to @LAFoodBank
Thousands of people responded to the tweet. Some people shared horrible stories with Ellen while others defended the comedian and questioned Porter's intention.
A month after, Variety reported that Ellen's workers were furious after not getting proper communication regarding the status of their working hours, pay, and other matters.
Adding to the list of controversy is the Buzzfeed article published on July 16, where ten former employees of the show claimed they faced racism, fear, and intimidation at work.
A former staff clarified that the toxic environment was because of the executive producers and other senior staff members' behavior, not DeGeneres herself.
However, the ex-staff believes that Ellen should be more involved with what's going on behind the camera.
"If she wants to have her own show and have her name on the show title, she needs to be more involved to see what's going on," one former staffer told BuzzFeed.
Things just keep getting worse from there.
On July 30, Buzzfeed published another article with dozens of former Ellen employees accusing executive producers of rampant sexual misconduct and harassment.
Several former employees have accused executive producer Kevin Leman of behaving inappropriately at a company party in 2013 and 2017.
Leman allegedly asked for oral sex at a company party in 2013 and grabbed a production assistant's genitalia in a separate incident. In 2017, another former employee claimed she saw Leman groping a production assistant in a car and kissing his neck.
Almost a dozen former employees revealed to Buzzfeed that Leman often makes sexual comments in the office and asks inappropriate questions like "Are you a top or a bottom?"
According to the report, most of Leman's targets were lower-level and younger employees who lacked the power to speak up.
Leman has immediately released a statement denying "any kind of sexual impropriety." adding he's "horrified" that his "attempts at humor may have caused offense."
Meanwhile, five former employees told Buzzfeed that executive producer Ed Glavin touched them in a way that made them uncomfortable by allegedly rubbing their shoulders and back and placing his hand around their lower waist.
Glavin is accused of having 'a reputation for being handsy with women' and for using fear and intimidation to control the team.
Glavin is yet to issue a statement on the allegations.
On the other hand, co-executive producer Jonathan Norman also faces accusations. A former Ellen employee said Norman' groomed' him for a long time by taking him to concerts and other work-related perks then attempting to perform oral sex on him.
Norman has denied all the allegations and said he's never groomed anyone nor harmed another staff member. He said he's never had a single complaint against him in his career.