Former ‘Ellen DeGeneres Show’ Employees Claim the Show Had a Toxic Work Culture, Slam the ‘Be Kind’ Mantra
One current and 10 former employees of The Ellen DeGeneres Show are speaking out in a new BuzzFeed article and they claim that there is a “toxic work culture” behind the scenes at the show.
Ellen herself has been making headlines this year after coming under fire by several celebrities, staff members, a bodyguard, and social media campaigns calling out her alleged unfriendliness.
The new article doesn’t make any actual claims about Ellen‘s behavior, but the employees say that “she really needs to take more responsibility” for the environment at her show.
“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 said. “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.”
Employees say that they have been fired after taking medical leave or bereavement days to attend family funerals. Another employee walked off the job after comments about her race. Another staffer says they were given a warning after starting a GoFundMe campaign to cover medical costs not covered by the company’s health insurance. This employee was told the fundraiser could hurt Ellen‘s brand.
“They definitely don’t practice what they preach with the ‘be kind’ mantra,” an employee said.
The former employees said that people who push back against the senior producers do not get their contracts renewed and that inexperienced people are often hired because they don’t know what a functional environment is like.
“They hire people who maybe are inexperienced with how a functional, nontoxic work environment actually is, or someone who just wants to be in that atmosphere so bad that they’ll put up with it,” one former employee said. “They kind of feed off of that, like, ‘This is Ellen; this is as good as it gets. You’ll never find anything better than this.’”
Another employee said, “People focus on rumors 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. 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.’”
The show’s executive producers released a joint statement and said: “Over the course of nearly two decades, 3,000 episodes, and employing over 1000 staff members, we have strived to create an open, safe, and inclusive work environment. We are truly heartbroken and sorry to learn that even one person in our production family has had a negative experience. It’s not who we are and not who we strive to be, and not the mission Ellen has set for us. For the record, the day to day responsibility of the Ellen show is completely on us. We take all of this very seriously and we realize, as many in the world are learning, that we need to do better, are committed to do better, and we will do better.”
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