It’s an issue that has been simmering for weeks, but finally Ellen DeGeneres has apologized to the staff of her daytime TV talk show amid an internal company investigation of complaints of a difficult and unfair workplace.
“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,” DeGeneres wrote. Something changed, she said, “and for that, I am sorry.”
In a separate statement, the Warner Bros. studio said the investigation’s “primary findings” revealed what it called some flaws in the show’s daily management.
DeGeneres’ memo and the probe by the studio’s parent company followed a BuzzFeed News report in which one current and 10 former show employees complained about issues including being fired after taking medical or bereavement leave. One worker said she left because of comments about her race.
Most of the complaints were tied to executive producers and senior managers, BuzzFeed News said, but one ex-employee said DeGeneres need to take more responsibility for the work environment. The people making the allegations were not identified.
The complaints contrast sharply with the show’s upbeat tenor and DeGeneres’ own public demeanour and exhortations for people to be kind and caring.
In its statement, Warner Bros. said it and DeGeneres take the allegations about the show’s “workplace culture very seriously” and that its parent company is seeking to determine the validity of the publicly reported allegations and understand the show’s daily workings.
“As a result, WarnerMedia interviewed dozens of current and former employees about the environment at ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’ … And though not all of the allegations were corroborated, we are disappointed that the primary findings of the investigation indicated some deficiencies related to the show’s day-to-day management.”