Ellen DeGeneres opened the season 18 premiere of her talk show by addressing the allegations of a toxic working environment behind the scenes.
The season 18 premiere of The Ellen DeGeneres Show began with the host making jokes about the rumors and allegations surrounding the show’s production, saying, “If you’re watching because you love me, thank you. If you’re watching because you don’t love me, welcome.”
She continued: “How was everybody’s summer? Good? Mine was great. Super terrific.”
DeGeneres then switched to a more somber tone, and directly addressed the allegations, which included employees accusing the show’s producers and senior management of creating a toxic work culture.
Among the accusations made in July, a Black female employee said she had dealt with “racist comments, actions, and microagressions,” and a former employee said they were fired after creating a GoFundMe for medical costs that the show’s health insurance wouldn’t cover.
That led to a formal investigation by WarnerMedia, parent company of the production company behind The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
Speaking during the season 18 premiere, DeGeneres said, “I learned that things happened that should never have happened. I take that very seriously. And I want to say I am so sorry to the people who were affected.”
“I know that I’m 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,” she continued.
She added that an investigation had led to “the necessary changes” being made — which reportedly included three producers, Ed Glavin, Kevin Leman and Jonathan Norman, being fired — and that “today we’re starting a new chapter.”
DeGeneres also addressed rumors that her nickname as the “‘be kind’ lady” ended once the cameras were off.
A viral Twitter thread in March accused DeGeneres of being “notoriously one of the meanest people alive,” with dozens of replies featuring accusations of abusive and cruel behavior towards staff, including having a production assistant fired for “leading her to set the ‘long’ way.”
DeGeneres said that the “‘be kind’ lady” moniker “is a tricky position to be in.”
“If anybody is thinking of changing their title or giving yourself a nickname, do not go with the ‘be kind’ lady. Don’t do it,” she joked.
“The truth is that I am the person that you see on TV,” DeGeneres continued. “I am also a lot of other things. 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.”
After joking about her acting abilities, DeGeneres said, “I don’t think that I’m that good that I could come out here every day for seventeen years and fool you. This is me. And my intention is to always be the best person I can be.”
She added: “If I’ve ever let someone down, if I’ve ever hurt their feelings, I am so sorry for that. If that’s ever the case, I’ve let myself down, and I’ve hurt myself as well.”
DeGeneres noted that the show has 270 staff, and said that she wants “for every single one of them to be happy and to be proud to work here.”
Watch DeGeneres’ monologue below:
Today we’re starting a new chapter. pic.twitter.com/PvpZXnXLv5
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) September 21, 2020
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