In the seven-minute opener, DeGeneres apologized “to the people that were affected” and said she is “taking responsibility for what happens at my show.”
“As you may have heard, this summer there were allegations of a toxic work environment at our show and then there was an investigation. I learned that things happened here that never should have happened. I take that every seriously and I want to say I am so sorry to the people that were affected. I know that I am in a position of privilege and power and with that comes responsibility and I take responsibility for what happens at my show,” DeGeneres said.
This was the first time that DeGeneres had publicly addressed the reports which emerged from a mid-July BuzzFeed News investigation that surfaced allegations of racist behavior and intimidation on the show. In April, Variety reported on the outrage among the show’s crew members over pay reduction, a lack of communication and poor treatment by producers after the pandemic shut down production; a non-union tech company was hired to tape the show remotely from DeGeneres’ California home.
An investigation into the show was launched by WarnerMedia, which resulted in the removal of several top producers.
DeGeneres said “we have made the necessary changes” later in the monologue and promised “a new chapter” of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”
“We have had a lot of conversations over the last few weeks about the show, the workplace and what we want for the future. We have made the necessary changes and today we are starting a new chapter,” she said, before leading the virtual audience in front of her in a round of applause.
DeGeneres had previously addressed the alleged toxic work environment in a videoconference call with her staff, during which several sources said she described reading the disturbing allegations about the atmosphere on the show as “heartbreaking.”
The changes DeGeneres referred to involved ousting executive producers Ed Glavin and Kevin Leman, and co-EP Jonathan Norman, as well as upping the show’s resident DJ, Stephen “tWitch” Boss, to co-executive producer.
DeGeneres also discussed “articles in the press and on social media that said that I am not who I appeared to be on TV,” that accused her of not practicing the “be kind” motto that she preaches. The host admitted that “being known as the ‘be kind’ lady is a tricky position to be in.”
“Here’s how that happened: I started saying, ‘be kind to one another’ after a young man named Tyler Clementi took his own life after being bullied for being gay,” DeGeneres explained. “I thought the world needed more kindness and it was a reminder that we all needed that, and I think we need it more than ever right now.”
“Being known as the ‘be kind’ lady is a tricky position to be in,” she continued. “So let me give you some advice out there if anybody’s thinking of changing their title or giving yourself a nickname, do not go with the ‘be kind’ lady. Don’t do it. The truth is I am that person that you see on TV.”
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NEW YORK (AP) — Ellen DeGeneres used her opening monologue of the new season of her daytime talk show to address allegations of a toxic work environment, apologizing for things “that never should have happened.”
“I know that I’m in a position of privilege and power and I realize that with that comes responsibility, and I take responsibility for what happens at my show,” she said in a video posted Monday.
“The Ellen DeGeneres Show” started its 18th season in Los Angeles with the host on stage for the first time in months after taping from DeGeneres’s home during quarantine. There wasn’t a studio audience but a virtual one, with faces beamed in on monitors put in the audience seats.
“We have had a lot of conversations over the last few weeks about the show, our workplace, and what we want for the future,” she said. “We have made the necessary changes and today we are starting a new chapter.”
Three of the show’s producers exited over the summer amid allegations of a dysfunctional workplace that harbored misbehavior, including sexual misconduct and racially insensitive remarks. In her monologue, DeGeneres dryly joked that her summer was “super-terrific.”
The host also addressed the allegations that the off-camera DeGeneres is very different than her sunny on-air persona. “The truth is I am that person that you see on TV,” she said.
An internal company investigation of work conditions was prompted by a BuzzFeed News report in July based on 36 interviews with ex-staffers, who complained about or said they witnessed improper and unfair treatment. The people making the claims were not identified.
“I learned that things happened here that never should have happened. I take that very seriously, and I want to say I am so sorry to the people that were affected,” DeGeneres said in her monologue.
The comedian and host had sent a memo to her staff after the BuzzFeed report, recalling her early promise of ensuring a workplace where “everyone would be treated with respect.” Something changed, she said, “and for that, I am sorry.”
In a July statement, Warner Bros. said parent company WarnerMedia’s investigation revealed what it called “some flaws in the show’s daily management.”
Although not all of the allegations were corroborated, the studio said it was “disappointed that the primary findings of the investigation indicated some deficiencies related to the show’s day-to-day management.”