The Ellen DeGeneres Show Is Reportedly Under Internal Investigation After Workplace Complaints
Earlier this month, BuzzFeed News published a report in which former employees alleged there is a "toxic work environment" behind the scenes of the daytime talk show
Ellen DeGeneres' acclaimed talk show is reportedly under internal review following multiple allegations from former staffers about the talk show's workplace environment.
According to reports from Variety and The Hollywood Reporter, both published Monday, The Ellen DeGeneres Show will undergo an internal investigation by WarnerMedia. Reps for The Ellen DeGeneres Show and Warner Bros. Television declined to comment when reached by PEOPLE. A rep for DeGeneres did not immediately return PEOPLE's request for comment.
Telepictures and Warner Bros. TV executives sent a memo to Ellen Show staffers last week announcing they have engaged WarnerMedia’s employee relations group and a third party firm, according to Variety. Current and former staffers will reportedly be interviewed about their experiences on set. The memo cited recent articles as the reason for the workplace investigation, per Variety.
Earlier this month, BuzzFeed News published a report in which previous employees alleged there is a "toxic work environment" behind the scenes of the daytime talk show. One current and 10 former staffers spoke anonymously about their experiences on set, including claims of being penalized for taking medical leave, instances of racial microaggressions and fear of retribution for raising complaints.
Executive producers Ed Glavin, Mary Connelly and Andy Lassner said in a statement at the time that they take full responsibility for daily operations on the show.
"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," they said in a joint statement to BuzzFeed. "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," they added. "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."
In BuzzFeed's report, the ex-employees claimed that DeGeneres' "be kind" attitude is "all for show." One former staffer recalled racist remarks by coworkers about her hairstyle, claiming a senior-level producer told her and a fellow Black employee, "Oh wow, you both have box braids; I hope we don’t get you confused," according to BuzzFeed. She also claimed a writer joked to her, in front of others, that they only remembered the names of white staffers.
She told BuzzFeed that she hesitated speaking out on the subject because she feared retribution.
“I feel like I’m not alone in this,” she said. “We all feel this. We’ve been feeling this way, but I’ve been too afraid to say anything because everyone knows what happens when you say something as a Black person. You’re blacklisted.”
“I feel angry about the way I was treated, and I am always going to stand up for Black, Indigenous, Latino and Asian people, regardless if they’re around,” she added. “I can’t not say anything; I’m not going to stop talking.”
No specific allegations were made against DeGeneres, 62, who has hosted the program since 2003. DeGeneres has yet to make a statement about the allegations.