Ellen DeGeneres addresses ‘toxic work environment’ in personal letter to staff
LOS ANGELES - After news broke that “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” was under an internal investigation by its parent company WarnerMedia following a series of complaints alleging a “toxic work environment,” a letter was sent out by DeGeneres personally addressing alleged incidents by staffers.
One report from Buzzfeed News noted one current and 10 former staff members claimed to be victims of bullying and racism.
In the letter, DeGeneres expressed disappointment in the show’s apparent inability to successfully treat every staff member with “respect,” after an internal investigation found that some staff were not treated properly.
Warner Bros. did not immediately reveal the nature of any specific incidents related to the investigation.
“On day one of our show, I told everyone in our first meeting that The Ellen DeGeneres Show would be a place of happiness,” wrote DeGeneres. “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.”
In response to the allegations, a spokesperson for Warner Bros. said the company has “identified several staffing changes, along with appropriate measures to address the issues that have been raised, and are taking the first steps to implement them,” adding that while some allegations “were not corroborated, we are disappointing that the primary findings of the investigations indicated some deficiencies.”
Warner Bros did not elaborate on the specific staffing changes, but The Hollywood Reporter and Variety reported that Ed Glavin, an executive producer for DeGeneres’ show, would be among those “let go.”
Below is DeGeneres’ full letter to her staff:
Hey everybody – it’s Ellen. 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. 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.
I could not have the success I’ve had without all of your contributions. My name is on the show and everything we do and I take responsibility for that. Alongside Warner Bros, we immediately began an internal investigation and we are taking steps, together, to correct the issues. As we’ve grown exponentially, I’ve not been able to stay on top of everything and relied on others to do their jobs as they knew I’d want them done. Clearly some didn’t. That will now change and I’m committed to ensuring this does not happen again.
I’m also learning that people who work with me and for me are speaking on my behalf and misrepresenting who I am and that has to stop. As someone who was judged and nearly lost everything for just being who I am, I truly understand and have deep compassion for those being looked at differently, or treated unfairly, not equal, or – worse – disregarded. To think that any one of you felt that way is awful to me.
It’s been way too long, but we’re finally having conversations about fairness and justice. We all have to be more mindful about the way our words and actions affect others, and I’m glad the issues at our show were brought to my attention. I promise to do my part in continuing to push myself and everyone around me to learn and grow. It’s important to me and to Warner Bros. that everyone who has something to say can speak up and feels safe doing so.
I am so proud of the work we do and the fun and joy we all help put out in the world. I want everyone at home to love our show and I want everyone who makes it to love working on it. Again, I’m so sorry to anyone who didn’t have that experience. If not for COVID, I’d have done this in person, and I can’t wait to be back on our stage and see you all then.
Stay safe and healthy.