Ellen DeGeneres Apologizes To TV Show Staff For ‘Toxic’ Workplace Environment
Ellen DeGeneres has finally spoken out in a letter to staff about the recent claims of a “toxic work environment,” on set at her talk show.
The letter addressed claims that have been circulating for months, but had been recently highlighted by Buzzfeed News in an article interviewing one current and 10 former employees. The anonymous employees listed racist “microaggressions” they faced, as well as claims of unjust firings. Since that story was published, Warner Bros. have begun an internal investigation into the allegations.
DeGeneres’ letter, which was sent to the crew on the show and first obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, promised “to correct the issues” and offered an apology for the way workers have been treated.
“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,” she wrote at the beginning of the letter. “Obviously, something changed, and I am disappointed to learn that this has not been the case. And for that, I am sorry.” DeGeneres went on to take to responsibility for the problems her staff faced, as the company bears her name, though she said she has been disconnected from the day-to-day running of the show.
“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.” One of the show’s executive producers who was pointed out specifically in the allegations, Ed Glavin, is reportedly being let go, according to two sources who spoke with The Hollywood Reporter. “Once he’s out, it will be like a new day,” one source said.
Glavin had been one of three executive producers to put out a joint statement in response to the Buzzfeed News article, which said: “Over the course of nearly two decades, 3,000 episodes, and employing over 1000 staff members, we have strived to create an open, safe, and inclusive work environment. We are truly heartbroken and sorry to learn that even one person in our production family has had a negative experience. It’s not who we are and not who we strive to be, and not the mission Ellen has set for us.”
DeGeneres went on to empathize with the workers who were treated unfairly in her letter, mentioning how her career was almost ended after she came out as gay in the late 90s. “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 wrote.
“I promise to do my part in continuing to push myself and everyone around me to learn and grow. It’s important to me and to Warner Bros. that everyone who has something to say can speak up and feels safe doing so,” she said nearing the end of her letter. “I am so proud of the work we do and the fun and joy we all help put out in the world. I want everyone at home to love our show and I want everyone who makes it to love working on it.
“Again, I’m so sorry to anyone who didn’t have that experience. 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,” she said, signing off the letter.