A new report details the experience of former and current employees.
A new report from Buzzfeed News details the experiences of several former and one current employee of The Ellen Degeneres Show, suggesting that the show is a toxic work environment.
While Buzzfeed found corroborating documentation and accounts for many of these stories, their sources preferred to remain anonymous so as to avoid retaliation from the show's management and others in the entertainment industry.
Among the complaints were claims that managers were not open to employees complaints or issues, that people had to fight for necessary time off, and were often fired shortly after. One former employee's position was eliminated (corporate doublespeak for being fired) immediately after coming back from a month of medical leave following a suicide attempt.
Another issue involved an employee who was reprimanded for possible damage to Ellen's reputation caused by a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for another worker's medical costs that weren't covered by the show's insurance. That employee was fired shortly after for a petty infraction they believe was cover for retaliation.
Ellen DeGeneres Staffers Claim They've Faced Racism, Fear at 'Toxic' Jobwww.youtube.com
Yet another employee described how her race was made an issue and how her concerns were dismissed and earned her the label "PC police." She left after being reprimanded for requesting a raise that would have put her pay more in line with another employee doing the same job for roughly the same amount of time.
The general sense conveyed in the report is that the show's operation preys on inexperienced workers who will accept the toxic work environment as normal—never questioning the excessive work hours or other mistreatment—and favors those workers with praise and gifts from corporate sponsors.
While the report suggests a general agreement about the hostile environment, there were differing opinions on who was to blame. With one former employee arguing that Ellen—who famously avoids interacting with staff as much as possible—needs to take more responsibility for the show's working environment.
Others laid the blame squarely on management, with one source saying, "People focus on rumors about how Ellen is mean and everything like that, but that's not the problem. 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."
This obviously runs counter to Ellen's professed mantra to "be kind," so the show's executive producers were quick to issue a statement expressing sadness "that even one person in our production family has had a negative experience" and emphasizing that these 11 employees are among a cohort of over 1000 employees spanning nearly two decades.
If they are truly concerned for Ellen's reputation, however, they will have to be careful about how they handle this moving forward, as Buzzfeed included a plea for more information from current and former employees, so this story may continue to unfold in coming days. And it may already be too late to restore Ellen to the throne of daytime talk show dominance.
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Amid a string of recent stories about staff being neglected and mistreated during the early stages of the pandemic lockdown and of Ellen herself being cruel and cold toward employees, guests, and random service workers she encounters in her daily life, the ratings for The Ellen DeGeneres Show have slipped behind a number of her daytime competitors.
With Ellen's public persona being one of positivity, generosity, and fun, it may be that her audience is becoming disillusioned with what increasingly seems to be a superficial performance. If Ellen is who she wants us to believe when she encourages us to "be kind," why have so many people reported her coldness, and why has she allowed such a toxic work environment to be fostered around her?
Of course there is always room for personal growth, and with everything Ellen has gone through in her tumultuous career, she may yet recover from this current string of scandals and come out stronger and (hopefully) kinder than ever.