In the first monologue of her new season of The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Monday, Ellen DeGeneres addressed the accusations of a “toxic” workplace head-on.
Ellen delivered the monologue in front of an audience made up of individual video screens that showed viewers from all over the world. According to The Hollywood Reporter, she started off joking about having a “great summer” framed by an exaggerated smile and two thumbs up gestures.
“I learned that things happened here that never should have happened,” DeGeneres began. “I take that very seriously, and I want to say I’m so sorry to the people that were affected. I know that I’m in a position of privilege and power, and I realize that with that comes responsibility. I take responsibility for what happens at my show.”
Ellen promised that this new season would mark the beginning of a “new chapter.”
“Sometimes I get sad, I get mad, I get anxious, I get frustrated, I get impatient, and I am working on all of that,” DeGeneres added. “I am a work in progress.
“And I am especially working on the impatience – and it’s not going well because it’s not happening fast enough,” she joked.
“I’ve played a straight woman in movies, so I am 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.”
“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. If that’s ever the case, I’ve let myself down, and I’ve hurt myself as well because I always try to grow as a person,” she continued. “I look at everything that comes into my life as an opportunity to learn. I got into this business to make people laugh and feel good; that’s my favorite thing to do.”
“All I want is for every single one of my 270 employees to be happy and to be proud to work here,” she said.
“This has been a horrible summer for people all over the world. People are losing their jobs. People are losing loved ones to a pandemic. People are losing their homes and lives in raging fires that are going on. There’s blatant racial injustice all around us. I watch the news, and I feel like, where do we even begin,” she continued. “So my hope is that we can still be a place of happiness and joy. I still want to be the one hour a day that people can go to escape and laugh. I want to continue to help all of the people that we help every day, and I am committed to making this the best season that we have ever had.”
Ellen has been plagued with allegations of allowing a toxic work environment on the set of her award-winning show, including allegations that employees experienced racism and sexual harassment after Buzzfeed ran an article back in July. Since that article, dozens of former employees have come forward with their own experiences.
Ellen has since apologized, and WarnerMedia parted ways with executive producer Ed Glavin, head writer and executive producer Kevin Leman, and co-executive producer Jonathan Norman, all of whom were named in the original Buzzfeed stories.
Additionally, employees of The Ellen DeGeneres Show now receive five days paid time off, birthdays off, and paid time off for doctors’ appointments and family events.