Ellen DeGeneres Lost 1 Million Viewers After Apologizing For Toxic Workplace
When Ellen DeGeneres returned to her talk show after a summer hiatus in September, she opened the show with an apology after allegations of workplace misconduct at The Ellen DeGeneres Show came into light over the summer.
“I learned that things happen here that should never happened,” DeGeneres said in the 18th season premiere. “I take that very seriously. And I want to say I am so sorry to the people who were affected.”
Viewers tuned in for the apology, the season’s opener had the highest rating for an Ellen premiere in four years, but those numbers quickly dropped. The show has lost more than a million viewers since September, according to research from the firm Nielsen. Each Ellen episode only averaged about 1.5 million viewers over the last six months, down from the 2.6 million viewers the show had that time last year.
DeGeneres’ show received heat in July after Buzzfeed reported that several current and former staff members that were confronted with “racism, fear and intimidation” on set. Some also said that producers sexually harassed them. Warner Bros. investigated the workplace and fired high-level producers—Ed Glavin and Jonathan Norman and head writer Kevin Leman. DeGeneres apologized to her staff before addressing viewers.
DeGeneres built her show as a place of goofy dancing, light jokes, audience giveaways and scaring celebrity guests. Several years ago, she adopted the motto of “be kind” in response to the suicide of Tyler Clementi, a gay college student who took his own life after being bullied.
DeGeneres mentioned her motto in her on-air apology. “Being known as the Be Kind Lady is a tricky position to be in,” she said. “So let me give you some advice. If anyone is thinking of changing their title or giving yourself a nickname, do not go with the Be Kind Lady.”