Ellen DeGeneres Show employees speak out about 'toxic work environment' in scathing interview

Ellen DeGeneres
Ellen DeGeneres
Photo: Brooks Kraft/Getty Images
  • "That 'be kind' bullshit only happens when the cameras are on," a former Ellen DeGeneres Show employee tells Buzzfeed News in a scathing new interview.
  • The publication interviewed ten former employees and one current employee who talks of their fear, intimidation and the racial encounters they've experienced on the set of the talk show.
  • Executive producers on The Ellen Degeneres Show have since responded saying: "We take all of this very seriously and we realise, as many in the world are learning, that we need to do better."

Ten former employees – and one current employee – at The Ellen Degeneres Show claims the motto "Be Kind" is "all for show".

"That 'be kind' bullshit only happens when the cameras are on," one said, in a scathing interview with Buzzfeed News.

In the expose, those who worked on the show shared stories anonymously of fear, intimidation and racism.

A Black woman who worked on the show shared stories of "microaggressions" on set, spoke of senior-level producer telling her: "Oh wow, you both have box braids; I hope we don't get you confused." And one of the writers saying, "I'm sorry, I only know the names of the white people who work here."

According to her she was called the "PC Police" for speaking out about offensive terms used on the show and later reprimanded for doing so.

This isn't the first time employees on the show have spoken out though. In a tweet that went viral earlier in the year, comedian Kevin T. Porter called Ellen herself "notoriously one of the meanest people alive" and asked users to share stories about the host "being mean". The thread has over 2600 replies.

Shortly after YouTuber Nikki De Jager also opened up about her experience on the show saying: "Call me naive, but I kind of expected to be welcomed with confetti cannons: 'Welcome to The Ellen DeGeneres Show!' But instead I was greeted by an angry intern who was a bit overworked. I was expecting a Disney show, but got Teletubbies after dark."

Many called out Ellen's tone-deaf posts at the start of the pandemic while employees also said the show failed to communicate with them about the security of their jobs as things progressed.

ALSO READ | How the coronavirus will change our relationship with celebrities forever

Executive producers on the show, Ed Glavin, Mary Connelly and Andy Lassner responded to Buzzfeed News saying: "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 realise, 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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