Ellen DeGeneres Addresses ‘Toxic’ Environment Claims on Show’s Premiere

Her side of the story. Ellen DeGeneres kicked off the new season of The Ellen DeGeneres Show by addressing the many claims made against her and the staff of her talk 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 that never should have happened. I take that very seriously,” she explained in the nearly five-minute monologue before a virtual studio audience on Monday, September 21. “I want to say I am so sorry to the people who are affected. I know that I am 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. This is The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”

DeGeneres noted that “a lot of conversations” have taken place since the allegations started emerging. She said that “necessary changes” were made for the betterment of her daytime talk show’s future, and that today marked the start of a “new chapter.”

Ellen DeGeneres Speaks Out After Toxic Workplace Accusations
Ellen DeGeneres attends the People’s Choice Awards in Los Angeles on January 7, 2015. Rob Latour/Shutterstock

The comedian then addressed her “be kind” mantra, which she said is a “tricky position” to uphold. “The truth is, I am that person that you see on TV. I am also a lot of other things,” she said. “Sometimes I get sad, I get mad, I get anxious, I get frustrated, I get impatient — and I am working on all of that. I am a work in progress, and I am especially working on the impatience thing and it’s not going well because it’s not happening fast enough. I will tell you that.”

In concluding her opening address, she praised the 270 people who are employed by her show and said that she is “so grateful” to have them on board. DeGeneres wants for “every single one of them to be happy and to be proud” to work where they do. Her overall “hope” is that The Ellen DeGeneres Show can “still be a place of happiness and joy” and she is additionally “committed to making this the best season” of her namesake show yet.

The Finding Dory star, 62, came under fire after 10 former Ellen employees and one current staffer claimed in a BuzzFeed News report posted on July 16 that they experienced racism, fear and intimidation while on set. WarnerMedia then launched an internal investigation regarding the matter and DeGeneres sent an apology letter to her staff at the end of July.

“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,” the talk show host wrote in the letter obtained by Us Weekly on July 30. “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.”

She continued: “I’m also learning that people who work with me and for me are speaking on my behalf and misrepresenting who I am and that has to stop. 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.”

The Ellen’s Game of Games host said that she is “committed to ensuring this does not happen again” and promised her team that she’d “correct the issues” moving forward.

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