"She's personally going to be invested in making sure those things are properly changed," a source tells PEOPLE in this week's issue

By People Staff
August 05, 2020 09:50 AM
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While closing out every episode of her daytime talk show, Ellen DeGeneres makes it a point to remind viewers to "be kind to one another" — but some former employees are claiming the environment behind the scenes is nothing of the sort.

In this week's issue of PEOPLE, a source close to DeGeneres, 62, says the star was "crushed" when she first learned about the allegations of a "toxic" work environment made by anonymous former employees in a BuzzFeed News report last month, which included racist comments, fear of retribution for complaining and being penalized for medical leave.

The show's parent company, Warner Bros. Television, subsequently launched an internal investigation of the show, of which the initial findings "indicated some deficiencies related to the show's day-to-day management," according to a statement last week.

According to the source, DeGeneres is "personally going to be invested in making sure those things are properly changed."

Ellen DeGeneres
Brooks Kraft/Getty
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The source says the comedian will be back to host the talk show when it's expected to return, on Sep. 9.

"She wants to just put out a great show that makes people happy and feel good," the source says. "She's very focused on that."

In the meantime, the firestorm hasn't abated. A second BuzzFeed News report included allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct against multiple show executives, and celebrities have chimed in online to criticize or defend DeGeneres.

"There is definitely a tension at Ellen that doesn't exist at the other shows," a third insider tells PEOPLE. "The employees all seem on eggshells."

Ellen DeGeneres
Michael Rozman/Warner Bros.

Last week, DeGeneres penned a lengthy memo to the staff members of her show addressing the controversy.

"My name is on the show and everything we do and I take responsibility for that," she wrote. "Alongside Warner Bros, we immediately began an internal investigation and we are taking steps, together, to correct the issues. As we've grown exponentially, I've not been able to stay on top of everything and relied on others to do their jobs as they knew I'd want them done. Clearly some didn't. That will now change and I'm committed to ensuring this does not happen again."

She promised to do her "part" in pushing herself and others "to learn and grow."

"We all have to be more mindful about the way our words and actions affect others, and I'm glad the issues at our show were brought to my attention," she said. "I promise to do my part in continuing to push myself and everyone around me to learn and grow. It's important to me and to Warner Bros. that everyone who has something to say can speak up and feels safe doing so."

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Warner Bros. said in a statement last week that they had "identified several staffing changes, along with appropriate measures to address the issues that have been raised, and are taking the first steps to implement them."

"Warner Bros. and Ellen DeGeneres are all committed to ensuring a workplace based on respect and inclusion," the statement continued. "We are confident this course of action will lead us to the right way forward for the show."