As The Ellen DeGeneres Show is facing an investigation amid reports of bullying at the workplace and a “toxic work environment,” Ellen DeGeneres issued an apology to her staff and suggested some executives didn’t do their job as she wanted them to.
In her apology letter to the staff, Ellen hinted that senior executives accused of mistreating employees would face consequences. She also appeared to take responsibility for everything that happens in her show and claimed plans “to correct issues” are being made.
“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,” Ellen wrote in her letter obtained by PEOPLE.
“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 … My name is on the show and everything we do and I take responsibility for that.”
As the comedian went on to suggest, some executives didn’t do their jobs as she expected them to. She also insisted that people speaking on her behalf are misrepresenting who she is.
“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,” the letter went on.
“To think that any one of you felt that way is awful to me. It’s been way too long, but we’re finally having conversations about fairness and justice.
“We all have to be more mindful about the way our words and actions affect others, and I’m glad the issues at our show were brought to my attention.”
Concluding the apology, Ellen claimed she would deliver it in person if it wasn’t for COVID-19 and suggested she’s going to push herself and people around her to “learn and grow.”
The apology came hours before BuzzFeed News published allegations of sexual misconduct at the workplace brought forward by staffers who suggested junior-level employees had been targeted by senior executives of the show.
According to the newest allegations, executives would make inappropriate comments and grope employees at the workplace.
As BuzzFeed News reported, one of the former staffers of the show told them that executive producer Kevin Leman solicited him for oral sex.
As several other employees alleged, Leman groped and kissed employees. About a dozen former staffers also alleged that the executive made sexually explicit comments “masked in sarcasm.”
The sexual misconduct allegations follow shortly after an internal review has been launched by WBTV-owner WarnerMedia’s employee relations group, in collaboration with a third-party group, to get to the bottom of accusations concerning the show’s work environment.
The memo explaining the process was sent to employees last week and follows after a number of workers slammed the show’s “toxic work environment” and accused several executive producers of “bullying.”
“The issue is these three executive producers [Ed Glavin, Mary Connelly and Andy Lassner] running the show who are in charge of all these people [and] who make the culture and are putting out this feeling of bullying and being mean,” a source told Buzzfeed.
“They feel that everybody who works at The Ellen Show is lucky to work there: ‘So if you have a problem, you should leave because we’ll hire someone else because everybody wants to work here.’”
One former employee has also claimed they got sacked for taking a one-month medical leave following their suicide attempt.
“You’d think that if someone just tried to kill themselves, you don’t want to add any more stress to their lives,” they said.
Another employee insisted she had been subjected to “microaggressions” and accused of “walking around looking resentful and angry” after requesting those in charge to have staff undergo diversity and inclusion training.
Previously, in April, the production staff had also complained about the lack of transparency and pay cuts due to the coronavirus pandemic. According to the reports, their pay was cut by 40 percent, whereas the show hired an external company to film while quarantined at home.
While the employees haven’t accused 62-year-old Ellen of any misconduct, some have alleged they were told they’re not allowed to speak to her.
“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 employee allegedly expressed.
“I think the executive producers surround her and tell her, ‘Things are going great, everybody’s happy,’ and she just believes that, but it’s her responsibility to go beyond that.”
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