The ‘Ellen’ Show Is Under Investigation Over Toxic, Racist Workplace Allegations
“That ‘be kind’ bullshit only happens when the cameras are on," one former employee said.
The Ellen DeGeneres Show is currently under internal examination, after several ex- and current employees coming forward this year to share their experiences with bullying and racism while working on the show.
As reported by Variety, a memo has been sent out to Ellen workers letting them know that WarnerMedia will conduct an internal review with current and former workers to learn more about their experience on-set.
Both The Ellen DeGeneres Show and its host have been subject to public scrutiny since last year, as rumours circulated of the comedian’s hostile and mean behaviour off-camera — a moment somewhat captured by her awkward interaction with Dakota Johnson late last year. After this, several uncomfortable interviews and moments on the show resurfaced which suggested cracks in Ellen‘s ‘nicest person in Hollywood’ persona.
Then, in April, Variety reported on frustrating conditions on the show as workers were expected to work from home with little transparency over hours or pay decreases, and recently, BuzzFeed published a report with ex- and current employees detailing experiences of racism and bullying on-set.
“That ‘be kind’ bullshit only happens when the cameras are on,” one former employee said.
Ellen was not mentioned as directly responsible for any of these incidents, but employees argued that if executive producers and senior staff were creating a hostile environment, she needed to take “more responsibility.”
“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 told BuzzFeed. “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.”
In one example, an employee was told to delete their personal GoFundMe covering medical costs as it reflected poorly on Ellen that the show didn’t provide health insurance that covered the fees. Others described a micro-managed work environment that encouraged working over-the-clock for no pay.
“I never felt like it was safe to go to my manager when I had issues — because this was the same person who would wait for me to go to the bathroom and then message me, asking me where I was and why I wasn’t at my desk,” one employee said.
In another anecdote, two Black females were mistaken for one another due to similar hairstyles, with a writer later joking “Sorry, I only know the names of the white people who work here”.
In response to the BuzzFeed story, executive producers said they were “truly heartbroken” by the stories. “It’s not who we are and not who we strive to be, and not the mission Ellen has set for us,” they said.