BuzzFeed Publishes Scathing Report About Toxic Work Culture at 'Ellen' Show

Saturday July 18, 2020

Ellen DeGeneres
Ellen DeGeneres  (Source:Photo by Vince Bucci/Invision/AP)

Reports and rumors about Ellen DeGeneres being less than kind to her employees have been circulating for a while now. But a new scathing piece from BuzzFeed News features interviews with one current worker at the "Ellen" show and 10 former employees who all speak out against the work environment they encountered while working for the beloved talk show host.

"That 'be kind' bullshit only happens when the cameras are on. It's all for show," one former employee said. "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 show said she experienced racist comments, actions and microaggressions while being an "Ellen" employee for a year-and-a-half.

"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,'" BuzzFeed writes. "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."

The report goes on to say that when the ex-employee brought up the issue of race, and asked producers to stop using offensive language like "spirit animal," her colleagues called her "the PC police."

"Whenever I brought up an issue to my white male boss, he would bring up some random story about some random Black friend that he had and how they managed to get over stuff," she told BuzzFeed. "He would use his Black friend as some way to say, 'I understand your struggle.' But it was all performative bullshit."

BuzzFeed adds: "After one year at 'Ellen,' she said she asked for a raise after learning another recent hire made double for doing the same job, despite her having worked in the television industry for a decade. Her manager told her 'they'd see what they could do,' but months went by and nothing happened, she said.'"

"The former employee said she was also called into a meeting with executive producer Ed Glavin, where she was reprimanded for her objections to the term 'spirit animal,' asking for a raise, and suggesting employees on the show receive diversity and inclusion training," BuzzFeed adds.

"He said that I was walking around looking resentful and angry," the employee said, adding that she never returned to the "Ellen" show and said she doesn't plan on working in the entertainment industry again.

Another employee told BuzzFeed they took medical leave for a month in order to check into a care facility after an attempted suicide. When they returned, they were fired, according to the report.

"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 told BuzzFeed, which reportedly corroborated the account with four other employees and medical records.

Executive producers Ed Glavin, Mary Connelly and Andy Lassner issued a joint statement to BuzzFeed and said they take the stories of their employees "very seriously."

"Over the course of nearly two decades, 3,000 episodes, and employing over 1000 staff members, we have strived to create an open, safe, and inclusive work environment," they said. "We are truly heartbroken and sorry to learn that even one person in our production family has had a negative experience. 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," the statement said.

BuzzFeed's report comes not long after there rumors that the "Ellen" show might be canceled, although producers dismissed the speculation. In May, it was reported DeGeneres was fed up with rumors about her being mean.

Click here to read BuzzFeed's full report.

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