Ellen DeGeneres Speaks Out After Toxic Workplace Accusations

Her side of the story. Ellen DeGeneres spoke out for the first time following numerous toxic workplace claims regarding treatment of staff and guests on The Ellen DeGeneres 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.”

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.”

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

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.

“That ‘be kind’ bulls–t only happens when the cameras are on. It’s all for show,” one of the former staffers told the outlet. “I know they give money to people and help them out, but it’s for show.”

WarnerMedia has since 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.

After issuing her apology, a source told Us that the Little Big Shots producer “wants out of the show” now that it’s been tainted by the claims.

“She is pissed that people have come forward to share these negative stories about her and feels betrayed,” the insider added. “She knows she can be tough at times, but believes she works hard and is extremely creative and that it’s a privilege to work for her and be around her.”

Since the allegations began, celebrities including Lea Thompson and Brad Garrett have shared their own stories of negative interactions with DeGeneres over the years.

“Sorry but it comes from the top ⁦@TheEllenShow,” the Everybody Loves Raymond alum, 60, tweeted on July 31. “[I] know more than one [person] who were [sic] treated horribly by her.⁩ Common knowledge.”

The Emmy winner’s wife, Portia De Rossi, has continued to support DeGeneres amid the backlash — as have many of her celebrity pals.

“To all our fans….we see you,” the Arrested Development alum, 47, wrote via Instagram on August 3, alongside a photo that read, “I Stand by Ellen” across a blue background. “Thank you for your support. #stopbotattacks #IStandWithEllenDeGeneres #IStandByEllen.”

Nacho Figueras called for friends of the comedian, including Jennifer Aniston, Katy Perry and Sean Hayes, to voice support for her during the drama.

“I stand for you my friend and I challenge all the amazing people that know you and call you a friend to say who you are,” the polo player, 43, wrote via Instagram on August 2. “The world has become a very dangerous place because it seems that we cannot make anything right. If I am going to be criticized for defending someone that I think deserves to be defended then so be it.”

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