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Ellen DeGeneres Returns to Show With Apology for Toxic Workplace – The New York Times

“Things happen here that never should have happened,” the host says. Warner Bros. started investigating her show in July, after complaints of a toxic workplace culture. Three top producers have been ousted.

Credit…Chris Pizzello/Invision, via Associated Press

John Koblin

Ellen DeGeneres started the 18th season of her daytime talk show on Monday with a lengthy apology that addressed reports describing her as a boss who led a toxic workplace.

“If you’re watching because you love me, thank you,” Ms. DeGeneres said in her return from a summer hiatus. “And if you’re watching because you don’t love me, welcome.”

Dressed in a white blazer, jeans and her signature white sneakers, the host addressed the rows of seats filled with screens that featured virtual audience members. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, audience members are not permitted to enter her Burbank, Calif., studio.

“As you may have heard this summer, there were allegations of a toxic work environment at our show,” Ms. DeGeneres said. “And then there was an investigation. I learned that things happen here that never should 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 realized that with that comes responsibility, and I take responsibility for what happens at my show.”

In July, BuzzFeed News reported that former employees of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” said they had experienced “racism, fear and intimidation” on the program and were fired after taking time off for medical leave or bereavement. A former Black employee said she was the victim of racist comments from staff members.

Warner Bros., the studio that distributes the syndicated program, and its subsidiary, Telepictures, started an internal investigation. In August, three high-level producers were let go: Ed Glavin, an executive producer; Jonathan Norman, a co-executive producer; and Kevin Leman, the head writer.

“The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” which started in 2003, has been a boon to Warner Bros., which is part of AT&T’s WarnerMedia entertainment division. Last year, Ms. DeGeneres signed a contract to keep her at the program through 2022. She also signed a deal to make new shows for HBO Max, the WarnerMedia streaming service. In addition, Ms. DeGeneres is the host of a Warner Bros. game show, “Ellen’s Game of Games,” a prime-time mainstay for NBC.

During the monologue, which was posted on her show’s social media accounts, Ms. DeGeneres, 62, referred to “articles in the press and on social media that said that I am not who I appear to be on TV.”

“The truth is, I am that person that you see on TV,” she 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.”

The on-air apology followed two apologies — one by email, the other during a videoconference — that she had made to her staff over the summer.

In her remarks on Monday, Ms. DeGeneres, one of the first television stars to announce that she was gay, also referenced how she had spent years of her career as an actress, often playing straight women.

“So, I’m a pretty good actress, but I don’t think that I’m that good that I could come out here every day for 17 years and fool you,” she said. “This is me. And my intention is to always be the best person I can be. And if I’ve ever let someone down, if I’ve ever hurt their feelings, I am so sorry for that.”

Ms. DeGeneres introduced Stephen Laurel Boss, the DJ known as tWitch, and noted that he was now a co-executive producer on the show. After a brief chat with him, she told her virtual audience members that she was giving each of them a 65-inch television set. She then introduced her first guest of her new season, the actress Tiffany Haddish.

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Ellen Degeneres Once Mortified Nicole Kidman for Not Clapping the ‘Right’ Way – Showbiz Cheat Sheet

While The Ellen DeGeneres Show remains under fire, fans are digging up old segments to dissect. One celebrity interview featuring Nicole Kidman showed a side of DeGeneres that many have deemed unkind.

Ellen DeGeneres didn’t call out Antonio Banderas for his clapping style

Ellen DeGeneres and Nicole Kidman
Ellen DeGeneres and Nicole Kidman | Lester Cohen/WireImage

RELATED: Ellen Degeneres May Have Foreshadowed Her ‘Ellen Show’ Downfall Back in 2018

Sitting in the audience of a star-packed auditorium means having your every move watched. Banderas — who was nominated for The Genius — either forgot or didn’t care about witnesses when sitting in the 2018 Emmy audience.

A camera panned to Banderas and his clap sent fans into a tailspin. The incident led to comparisons to Kidman’s clap from the 2017 Oscars, which DeGeneres brought up during an interview on The Ellen Show.

When Banderas appeared on the show, she didn’t do the same. However, in 2011, she did pull a prank on the actor where a staffer chatted Banderas up for a longer than a comfortable length of time. The YouTube clip lasts over 5 minutes. Banderas was a good sport.

That said, a trip to The Ellen Show may entertain the home audience but at the cost of celebrities and guest’s comfort (and sometimes privacy).

DeGenerous once mocked Kidman for the way she claps

RELATED: A 2018 Employee Complaint Suggests ‘Ellen Show’ Toxicity Has a Long Track Record

A May 2017 appearance on The Ellen Show proved a little uncomfortable for Kidman, who was there to promote her HBO series, Big Little Lies, and her film Lion. DeGeneres brought up the way Kidman claps, asking if the actor knew she clapped “in a different way” than everyone else.

“I don’t clap like that!” Kidman said as the clip from the awards show played behind her.

“I do not clap like that! That is a weird lens!” she said, seemingly embarrassed. She asked DeGeneres not to show the video.

“The lens didn’t do it to anybody else’s fingers!” DeGeneres said. “How can you make any noise like that? You’re not even really clapping.”

“Because I borrowed … it’s the Cinderella thing. You borrow these expensive jewels, and I’m like, ‘I must not damage these diamonds!’ Cause I have to give them back at midnight! And so I’m like, clapping,” she said, demonstrating.

DeGeneres said she was being “a little too cautious” with the diamonds,” before asking Kidman to show how she claps now.

“I worked on it,” Kidman said. She then proved it by clapping.

Kidman later elaborated on why she claps this way

RELATED: Ellen Degeneres Reveals She ‘Felt a Lot of Guilt’ After Her Former Girlfriend’s Tragic Death but the Loss Launched Her Career

Kidman must’ve felt her explanation on The Ellen Show wasn’t enough. In an interview with The Kyle and Jackie O Show, she added that “it was really awkward.”

“I was like, ‘Gosh, I want to clap.’ I don’t want to not be clapping, which would be worse, right? ‘Why isn’t Nicole clapping?’” she said, adding that the ring she wore was 119 carats of Harry Winston diamonds, including a “cluster ring.”

“It was really difficult because I had a huge ring on that was not my own,” she said. “It was absolutely gorgeous, and I was terrified of damaging it. It’s like, is there not more important things to be focused on than the seal clap?”

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‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’ Ousts Three Top Producers (EXCLUSIVE) – Variety

“The Ellen DeGeneres Show” has overhauled its senior production team in the wake of accusations of racial insensitivity, sexual misconduct and other problems in the work environment at the long-running daytime talk show.

Three senior producers — executive producers Ed Glavin and Kevin Leman, and co-executive producer Jonathan Norman — have been ousted from the Warner Bros.-distributed syndicated strip following damning allegations raised in recent reports by Buzzfeed and Variety. “Ellen” veterans Mary Connelly, Andy Lassner and Derek Westervelt will remain at the show as executive producers alongside host DeGeneres. Connelly, Lassner and Westervelt have been with the show since its inception in 2003.

A Warner Bros. spokeswoman confirmed that Glavin, Leman and Norman have “parted ways” with the show.

The news was delivered to “Ellen” staffers Monday afternoon during a staff meeting in which DeGeneres spoke via a videoconference call. DeGeneres was emotional to the point of tears, and apologetic as she addressed more than 200 staffers. According to multiple sources, DeGeneres told the staff she was “not perfect” and realized that in the effort for the show to run as a “well-oiled machine,” sometimes leaders were not as sensitive to “human beings” as they should have been. She added that reading disturbing allegations about the atmosphere on the show was “heartbreaking.”

DeGeneres even went so far as to note that the show has at times alienated staffers and even guests by shifting shooting timetables on short notice. She vowed to stick to agreed-upon timetables to make the production process smoother for all.

At the same time, during the meeting Connelly and Lassner addressed the results of the studio’s internal investigation that was sparked by the flurry of reports. After interviewing more than 100 people connected to the show, the probe found that there was no evidence of “systemic” racism on the show, although there was an acknowledgment that more needed to be done in terms of diversity and inclusion. DeGeneres and others vowed that everyone on staff — including DeGeneres — will participate in diversity and inclusion workshops. The host also announced that the show’s resident DJ, Stephen “tWitch” Boss, was promoted to co-executive producer.

Warner Bros. declined to comment on the specifics of the investigation. Sources said DeGeneres and other other producers did not take questions from staffers, who are still working remotely. DeGeneres is said to have vowed to meet in small groups with staffers once the health threat of the pandemic has passed. The show has faced criticism for a lack of diversity on its staff, something the studio has promised to address.

The departures had been expected ever since Glavin, Leman and Norman were cited in a July 30 story published by BuzzFeed about allegations of misconduct, harassment and questionable behavior on the set of the show. The trio was suspended in the wake of the BuzzFeed story and have since been terminated, multiple sources said.

Sources close to the situation said Leman and Glavin are also out as EPs on other DeGeneres-produced shows, including NBC’s “Ellen’s Game of Games.” Staffers were also told that the show has pushed back its 18th season debut by a few days, to Sept. 14.

In response to the complaints that found their way into media reports, Warner Bros. has established a dedicated HR representative for the show and a hotline for complaints. DeGeneres told staffers she had hoped to address them sooner, but was told not to while the investigation was in process.

DeGeneres responded to the persistent rumor that staffers and guests were told not to address her or even look her in the eye if they encountered the host on the set or in the offices on the Warner Bros. lot. She called that “crazy” and “not true,” although she also described herself as an “introvert.” She apologized to anyone who felt “disregarded,” according to multiple sources.

DeGeneres repeatedly emphasized that she was “proud” of the show’s success and its ability to spin off additional programs such as “Ellen’s Game of Games.” She also expressed gratitude to staffers, many of whom have been with her for the entire run. She insisted the show would “come back strong” next month.

“This will be the best season we’ve ever had,” DeGeneres said.

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‘Ellen DeGeneres Show’ DJ Stephen ‘tWitch’ Boss weighs in on controversy: ‘There’s been love’ – EW.com

Stephen “tWitch” Boss is keeping it diplomatic when it comes to allegations of a toxic workplace on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. While the performer, who’s been the program’s resident DJ since 2014, alluded to “things to address” behind the scenes during a recent interview with Us Weekly, he mostly stayed positive.

“We can’t speak too much legally about it, but I’ll say this, there’s been love,” Boss told the publication Tuesday. “Obviously there’s some things to address, but from my standpoint and from countless others, there’s been love. I’ll just leave it at that until there’s a time where we can address more publicly. There’s been love and there will continue to be love.”

Boss struck a different tone than his predecessor, DJ Tony Okungbowa, who left the show in 2013 after nearly a decade.

“While I am grateful for the opportunity it afforded me, I did experience and feel the toxicity of the environment and I stand with my former colleagues in their quest to create a healthier and more inclusive workplace as the show moves forward,” Okungbowa wrote on Instagram last week.

Boss joins a number of celebrities who’ve publicly backed DeGeneres, including Kevin Hart, Katy Perry, and Ashton Kutcher. Meanwhile, Everybody Loves Raymond star Brad Garrett and Back to the Future actress Lea Thompson are among the public figures who have criticized DeGeneres.

Garrett tweeted that the host is responsible for setting the tone on her show, writing, “Sorry but it comes from the top @TheEllenShow Know more than one who were treated horribly by her. Common knowledge.” Thompson agreed with Garrett in a tweet of her own.

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Ellen DeGeneres’ show hits new series low ratings amid reports of toxic work environment – Fox News

Ratings for “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” hit a new low in July 2020 following the release of bombshell reports about the allegedly toxic work environment that staffers have to deal with.

It was announced last month that WarnerMedia is conducting an internal investigation into the daytime talk show after numerous reports from current and former staff members detailed a rigid and unforgiving work environment as well as allegedly strict guidelines for interacting with the host.

The bulk of the allegations came by way of a Buzzfeed News report that came out around the time that TheWrap reports the show hit a new series low in Nielsen ratings. The show reportedly drew a 1.0 Live + Same Day household rating in the week ending on July 26, 2020. That marks a downturn by 9% from the prior week and a massive 29% from the same week in 2019.

ELLEN DEGENERES’ BRAND ‘BLEEDING OUT IN GUSHES’ AMID NEW RACISM, TOXIC WORKPLACE CLAIMS: EXPERT

The previous week saw a 27% drop, which just so happened to be the same week that Buzzfeed News released its report. However, it’s worth noting that ratings for syndicated daytime talk shows are down across the board as many opt to air summer reruns. “Dr. Oz,” “The Real” and “The Doctors” all joined “Ellen” in seeing massive ratings reductions last month, according to the report.

Ellen DeGeneres' show faced a slew of allegations of having a toxic work environment.

Ellen DeGeneres’ show faced a slew of allegations of having a toxic work environment.
(Netflix)

However, Ellen’s numbers are particularly low compared to her competitors like “Dr. Phil,” “Live with Kelly and Ryan” and “Maury,” whose numbers all remained steady. The outlet notes that the last time “Maury” beat DeGeneres in the ratings was in 2016 when she was pulled from consideration due to the broadcast of the Rio Summer Olympics.

Now, DeGeneres’ show is tied with the “Steve Wilkos” show. Wilkos, the former lead security guard on the “Jerry Springer Show,” has never beaten “Ellen” in the ratings before but seems poised to do so at this current trajectory.

The drama on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” began in April as reports circulated claiming the show’s staff was left uninformed as to the status of their pay or employment amid the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic.

ELLEN DEGENERES’ STAFF ‘LOVING’ THAT PEOPLE ARE LISTENING TO COMPLAINTS ABOUT TOXIC WORK ENVIRONMENT: SOURCE

Additionally, accounts of “cold” behavior from the 62-year-old comedian herself, including from her former bodyguard, became numerous.

In July, BuzzFeed published its explosive story featuring testimonials from various anonymous current and former employees, who accused the show of, among other things, racism, bullying, wrongful termination and more.

“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 in a memo to staff about the allegations. “Obviously, something changed, and I am disappointed to learn that this has not been the case. And for that, I am sorry. Anyone who knows me knows it’s the opposite of what I believe and what I hoped for our show.”

Ellen DeGeneres ratings in July 2src2src reached a new series low.

Ellen DeGeneres ratings in July 2020 reached a new series low.
(Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

DeGeneres continued, explaining that as the show has “grown exponentially,” she has had to turn to others to self-manage, which some employees did not do.

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“That will now change and I’m committed to ensuring this does not happen again,” she stated.

Fox News’ Nate Day contributed to this report.

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Ellen DeGeneres is not quitting her show, executive producers say – New York Post

August 1, 2020 | 5:29pm | Updated August 1, 2020 | 5:30pm

Don’t count Ellen out.

Scooter Braun may be the only celebrity in her corner right now, but embattled talk show host Ellen DeGeneres is not going down without a fight. She’s also going back to work this month, according to an internal email from the show’s executive producers obtained by the Post.

Reports of her career death — stemming from recent scathing stories about the “toxic,” “sexist” and “racist” workplace culture at the “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” — have been greatly exaggerated, sources close to the 62-year-old star told the Post Saturday.

Despite her career collapsing around her, DeGeneres has no intention of walking away from her signature talk show or game show. She plans to report to work Aug. 24 for “Ellen’s Game of Games” and to the set of the “Ellen Show” when it premieres Sept. 9, according to the internal email.

“We know that these last few days have been a lot to take in and process for everyone,” read part of the email which was signed, “Love, the EPs.”

An insider at the show said, “She’s fighting to protect the show and what she stands for. She is very upset about what happened and determined to fix the problems. She takes full responsibility. But no way is she quitting the show. That’s total BS.”

But DeGeneres is “devastated” over how Hollywood has turned on her so fast. Celebrities including Brad Garrett and Lea Thompson have called out Ellen for her mean behavior. Some in her circle wonder if it all started with her being seen with former President George W. Bush at a Dallas Cowboys game last October.

Elton John defended her at the time and Ellen herself spoke about the incident on her show, saying her infamous slogan “be kind” means showing compassion to everyone.

But the silence this time from DeGeneres’ vast network of celebrity besties — everyone from Jennifer Aniston to the Kardashians — has been deafening since a string of negative stories about her began earlier this year.

Is there a reason for that?

“Everyone’s scared of the liberal mob,” the source said. “They found something with Ellen they could latch onto and that drove even more of a pile-on. No one wants to be next.”

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‘Ellen’ Producer Faces Sexual Misconduct Allegations – Inside Edition


‘Ellen’ Producer Faces Sexual Misconduct Allegations – YouTube
















































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‘Ellen’ crew furious over treatment during coronavirus crisis – New York Daily News

New York Daily News

Apr 17, 2020 1:20 PM

Crew members for

Crew members for “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” are reportedly outraged over how they are being treated amid the coronavirus crisis.(Handout/Getty Images)

Crew members for “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” are outraged at how producers of the long-running daytime program are treating them amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report.

The core stage crew of the popular TV show hasn’t received any official written communication about how the COVID-19 crisis would affect their jobs, Variety reports.

Two sources, who asked to remain anonymous, told the publication that the show’s producers haven’t answered the group’s inquiries on employment status or payment.

One of the sources added that their bosses would occasionally answer phone calls, but without revealing much. The situation became even more aggravating after the group heard that the show hired Key Code Media — an outside, non-union tech firm — to help DeGeneres tape her show from home, as the entertainment industry adapts to follow California’s mandatory stay-at-home order.

Only four core crew members are working on the at-home taping of the show. Last week, nearly all employees were told to brace for a 60% pay cut, even though the show remains on the air. The core stage crew consists of more than 30 people.

Warner Bros. Television, which distributes the show, told Variety that employees have been paid regularly, but at reduced hours. “Our executive producers and Telepictures are committed to taking care of our staff and crew and have made decisions first and foremost with them in mind,” a spokesperson said.

Warner Bros. also acknowledged that it could have done a better job communicating with employees, but partly blamed the chaos caused by the coronavirus crisis.

The last episode taped in the studio took place the week of March 9, and the crew was paid in full for the week of March 16. They weren’t supposed to work the following week, which had already been scheduled as a spring break hiatus. After their break, “the crew was paid the week of March 30 despite having no firm plans for production to resume,” the spokesperson added.

Pay was reduced from 10 to 8 hours per work day for that week. As of April 10, crew members were told to expect a reduced compensation of two days per week, the unnamed sources told Variety.

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Later, employees were reportedly shocked to find out — through social media — about the show’s virtual set in DeGeneres’ home.

Warner Bros. said that no crew member lost their job with the hiring of Key Code, which was hired “to comply with city ordinances and public health protocols.”

The show returned to the air after a three-week-hiatus the week of April 7. DeGeneres was fiercely criticized for a joke she cracked during the first return show in which she compared self-quarantining — with her wife Portia de Rossi in the couple’s Architectural Digest-ready mansion — to being in jail.

The LGBTQ icon and comedian-turned-daytime-queen is one of the highest-paid stars on television. She earns more than $50 million per year from her Telepictures deal, with a reported net worth of $330 million.

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