Ellen DeGeneres Apologizes to Staff for Toxic, Racist Environment on Her Show

Ellen DeGeneres Apologizes to Staff for Toxic, Racist Environment on Her Show
Image:Alberto E. Rodriguez (Getty Images)

After a Buzzfeed News report revealed that racism, microaggressions, and other wildly toxic behavior ran rampant at The Ellen DeGeneres Show, it seems showrunners intend on making a few changes. No word on whether the notoriously less-than-nice Ellen will take any of these lessons to heart, but perhaps producers will at least stop telling Black employees they can’t tell any of them apart.

The Hollywood Reporter reports that DeGeneres herself wrote a letter to the show’s crew this week apologizing to staff and addressing the allegations, which include claims that a senior level producer once joked to a Black employee about another Black employee, “Oh wow, you both have box braids; I hope we don’t get you confused,” and that a staffer was fired after checking into a mental health facility after a suicide attempt.

“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,” DegGneres’s letter read. “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.”

Apparently, the show’s current plan is to fire executive producer Ed Glavin, who seems to be responsible for some of the most toxic behavior on set. Allegedly, DeGeneres didn’t know anything about Glavin’s misdeeds, which is odd, considering it’s her show and has been for the last 17 seasons. But she’s, uh, listening and learning:

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.

Add “having conversations” to the bingo board:

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.

Warner Bros. is currently investigating the allegations staffers made in the Buzzfeed piece, which might have something to do with Ellen’s letter. The show is contracted to air through 2022.

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