Ellen DeGeneres on The Ellen Show.
Ellen DeGeneres on The Ellen Show.

Ellen staff go rogue: ‘Toxic workplace’

A group of former and current staff on The Ellen Show have sensationally spoken out against the program, making shocking allegations about the environment behind the scenes of the hit daytime show.

In an expose by Buzzfeed News reporter Krystie Lee Yandoli, 10 former and one current Ellen employee - all speaking anonymously - described a "toxic work environment" with a culture of "racism, fear and intimidation".

"That 'be kind' bulls**t only happens when the cameras are on. It's all for show," one former employee is quoted as saying.

Ellen DeGeneres on The Ellen Show.
Ellen DeGeneres on The Ellen Show.

Former employees alleged to Buzzfeed that they'd been fired for taking medical leave, attending family funerals, and one for posting a selfie in the office on her Instagram Stories.

Others claimed that raising complaints about offensive or racist comments from colleagues saw them labelled as "PC police".

Employees claimed a strong division between favoured and unfavoured staff - those who'd "drunk the Kool Aid" versus those who hadn't. They claim the favoured staff were showered with gifts and perks from the show's sponsors.

One person who gets off relatively lightly in the article: Ellen herself. She barely figures in the employee complaints, aside from one employee alleging they were told never to talk to her if they saw her around the office.

Another says Ellen "needs to be more involved" in the show rather than listen to the executive producers who tell her everything is fine: "She needs to go beyond that."

"People focus on rumours about how Ellen is mean and everything like that, but that's not the problem. The issue is these three executive producers 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," one employee is quoted as saying.

Ellen has been presenting her talk show from home during COVID. Picture: Global Citizen
Ellen has been presenting her talk show from home during COVID. Picture: Global Citizen

In a statement to Buzzfeed, Ellen executive producers Ed Glavin, Mary Connelly, and Andy Lassner insisted that "the day to day responsibility of the Ellen show is completely on us. We take all of this very seriously and we realise, as many in the world are learning, that we need to do better, are committed to do better, and we will do better."

The tell-all is just the latest in a long line of PR disasters for Ellen, who has suffered through awkward celebrity interviews and a viral Twitter thread labelling her the "meanest person alive" this year.

The comedian also came under fire from staff members of The Ellen DeGeneres Show for failing to communicate the status of their jobs and pay amid the coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, beauty influencer Nikkie de Jager, who appeared on her talk show in January, claimed DeGeneres was particularly "cold" and gave preferential treatment to A-list guests.

DeGeneres' alleged bad reputation was further supported by Tom Majercak, a former bodyguard who protected DeGeneres at the 2014 Oscars. In an interview with Fox News, Majercak branded the host as "sly" and "demeaning".

 

Ellen has been besieged by bad press and behind the scenes horror stories in recent months. Picture: Andrew Harnik/AP
Ellen has been besieged by bad press and behind the scenes horror stories in recent months. Picture: Andrew Harnik/AP

"The stories are all true!" a former Ellen DeGeneres Show staffer told the New York Postin May of reports that the richest comedian in the world is also, allegedly, one of the rudest.

"Is she always nice? No," said the former staffer. "It irritates me that people think she's all sweetness and light and she gets away with it."

Perhaps the moment the tide turned for Ellen: an intensely awkward interview with actress Dakota Johnson in November last year, in which Johnson publicly called Ellen out for not coming to her birthday party.

 

Originally published as Ellen staff go rogue: 'Toxic workplace'


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