Written By @Cabbagepatchgrl
The Ellen DeGeneres Show returned for its 18th season premiere on Monday. This is the first time the show is being filmed since this summer’s allegations of a toxic work environment.
“Ellen is definitely a perfectionist and knows she can be difficult, but she never wanted to come across as mean-spirited,” says PEOPLE. “She is looking at herself to make changes.”
The show first received its backlash after BuzzFeed News published a report in July. Current and former employees spoke out anonymously about on-set unfairness, accusations of racial discrimination, and fear of being punished for speaking out about the complaints.
In August, Warner Media conducted an internal investigation after DeGeneres issued an apology to her employees via video conference and confirmed that three of the show’s top producers were no longer returning.
On Monday, during the six-minute monologue, DeGeneres addressed the controversy in front of an audience who was watching remotely because of COVID-19.
“I learned that things happened here that never should have happened,” DeGeneres said. “I take that very seriously, and I want to say I am so sorry to the people who were affected.”
Prior to the premiere, she acknowledged in a Zoom meeting that she was in a “position of privilege and power,” and she wanted to start “a new chapter” with her employees.
DeGeneres, who is known for her “be kind to one another” motto, spoke about her own shortcomings. “The truth is I am that person you see on TV. I am also a lot of other things,” she said. “Sometimes, I get sad. I get mad. I get anxious. I get frustrated. I get impatient, and I am working on all of that.”
After the premiere was over, she was applauded by her staff as she walked off-set.
“It was an emotional moment,” says an Insider.
This season is to include guests like Kerry Washington, Adam Sandler, and Amy Schumer, in hopes to recover from the controversy.
“She did a good job of admitting her mistakes,” an industry executive claims. “It was evident that she has been trying and has made big changes. We’ll see how that goes.”
Meanwhile, another source insists that Ellen “will have to prove herself. People want to give her a chance because this show means a lot to everyone working on it, but it’s going to be a long road.”