Yesterday Variety reported that the Ellen DeGeneres talk show is being investigated by WarnerMedia after several reports suggested she and her staff run a really awful workplace.
“The Ellen DeGeneres Show” has become the subject of an internal investigation by WarnerMedia following numerous accounts of workplace problems on the long-running daytime series, Variety has learned.
Executives from show producer Telepictures and distributor Warner Bros. Television sent a memo to staffers last week saying they have engaged WBTV-owner WarnerMedia’s employee relations group and a third party firm, who will interview current and former staffers about their experiences on set, said sources.
The story that most likely kicked off this investigatin was the one published by Buzzfeed about two weeks ago. That story alleged that contrary to the host’s sunny on-air personality, the working environment at the show was actually terrible for a lot of employees:
“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.”…
A Black woman who used to work on The Ellen DeGeneres Show told BuzzFeed News she experienced racist comments, actions, and “microaggressions” during her year and a half as an employee. She said when she was hired, a senior-level producer told her and another Black employee, “Oh wow, you both have box braids; I hope we don’t get you confused.” And at a work party, she said, one of the main writers told her, “I’m sorry, I only know the names of the white people who work here,” and other coworkers “awkwardly laughed it off” instead of coming to her defense.
When the former employee brought up issues of race and representation on the show and asked producers not to use offensive terms like “spirit animal” in segments, her colleagues called her “the PC police.”
Back in March a comedian named Kevin Porter offered to donate $2 to charity for every mean (but true) story revealed about Ellen in response to his tweet. He got hundreds and hundreds of responses. Some of the responses were obviously made up but there did seem to be quite a few about not treating her staff well.
this may have been shared already but an intern i know said that, should an intern enter a room ellen is in, ellen will stop what she’s doing & look at the floor until the intern leaves
— christopherrrrrr (@00chris1) March 20, 2020
Working for her, I was instructed that I can’t look her in the eye and never ever say hi to her first. “But don’t worry, she definitely won’t be saying hi to you in the first place.” She creates the most toxic environment for her staff.
— Maggie Klaus 🏄♀️ (@Maggie_Klaus) March 23, 2020
Was wrking on a show @ WB that was next to her stage. Was our showrunner's 50th Bday. Caterer grilling steaks outside for special fancy lunch. Ellen sent someone over to demand they stop, as she doesn't eat meat. She's the worst.
— Alison Freer ✂️ (@AlisonVFreer) March 20, 2020
More generally notorious for performatively only giving gifts to staffers she likes
— Nick Wiger (@nickwiger) March 21, 2020
Anyway, the Buzzfeed story suggests much worse things have happened to people working on the show:
After working on The Ellen DeGeneres Show for nearly a year, one former employee said they took medical leave for one month to check into a mental health facility for a suicide attempt. But the week they returned to work, they were told their position was being eliminated.
“You’d think that if someone just tried to kill themselves, you don’t want to add any more stress to their lives,” the employee, whose story was corroborated by four other employees and medical records, told BuzzFeed News…
A third former employee said they were given a warning for creating a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for medical costs that weren’t covered by their company health insurance and then sharing it on social media…
“They discovered my fundraiser, then got mad at me. … They were more concerned about Ellen’s brand instead of helping me out,” the former employee, whose story was corroborated by four other employees, told BuzzFeed News.
A month later, that employee also got fired for posting a picture on social media.
I’m not a fan of Ellen’s show, I just hate to see people with a lot of money and fame treating people who work for them like dirt. Maybe the investigation will convince her to treat some of the ‘common people’ a bit better.