It wouldn’t sit right with the general public if talk show host Ellen DeGeneres returned to her show and didn’t address the elephant in the room – allegations of workplace misconduct and toxic work environment on set and behind the scenes of her show.
But, According to Vanity Fair, DeGeneres is ready to open up about the drama that plagued her daytime talk show this summer. On Tuesday, the 62-year-old host announced that her show will return with new episodes starting September 21.
“I can’t wait to get back to work and back to our studio,” DeGeneres said in a statement. “And, yes, we’re gonna talk about it.” “It” being the string of misconduct allegations that came out during the summer.
Usually, DeGeneres is known for projecting positivity with her comedy. However, on July 10, former staffers and one current employee claimed behind the scenes of the show was a toxic work environment.
“That ‘be kind’ bullshit only happens when the cameras are on. It’s all for show,” one former employee told BuzzFeed News. “I know they give money to people and help them out, but it’s for show.”
But the toxicity was not only from Ellen; another former employee said executive producers Andy Lassner, Mary Connelly, and Ed Glavin were also at fault. “The issue is these three executive producers running the show who are in charge of all these people [and] who make the culture and are putting out this feeling of bullying and being mean,” the former employee said.
The three executives responded with a joint statement: “Over the course of nearly two decades, 3,000 episodes, and employing over 1,000 staff members, we have strived to create an open, safe, and inclusive work environment. We are truly heartbroken and sorry to learn that even one person in our production family has had a negative experience,” they said. “It’s not who we are and not who we strive to be, and not the mission Ellen has set for us. 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.”
After the allegations surfaced, WarnerMedia, the producer of the syndicated talk show, launched an investigation; in the meantime, DeGeneres apologized to her staff in a memo. “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. “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.”
But the apology was followed by more salacious headlines. On the same day the memo was leaked to the press, Buzzfeed reported new allegations, this time involving claims of sexual misconduct by Glavin and two other producers, all of which were men. Since those allegations, all three senior staffers have been ousted from their positions.
“We promised you change and a new culture, and we are absolutely committed to that,” Warner Bros. executive David McGuire said in an email to staff sent at the time of Glavin’s exit. “We heard loud and clear that communication needs to be better at every level. The EPs are already taking steps to make our communication more frequent and effective. I hope this note is another way we are showing our commitment to do better.”
But despite the series of allegations, DeGeneres has received an outpouring of support from celebrities like Katy Perry and Kevin Hart. Although the two are not listed as guests in her upcoming new episodes, DeGeneres has been able to secure other big-name celebrities amid the show’s scandal, including Kerry Washington, Chrissy Teigen, Alec Baldwin, Chris Rock, Adam Sandler, and Amy Schumer. First to hit the in-studio session with DeGeneres is comedian and actress Tiffany Haddish (due to COVID-19, the show will not have a live studio audience).
DeGeneres will also have her sidekick Stephen “tWitch” Boss, her longtime DJ, there for support. Boss is expected to serve as a guest host on some episodes. Over the summer, he was named co-executive producer.
“We can’t speak too much legally about it, but I’ll say this, there’s been love,” Boss told Us Weekly in August. “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’ll will continue to be love.”
Will you watch?