Ellen DeGeneres says sorry for 'hostile work environment'

Ellen DeGeneres
Ellen DeGeneres

LOS ANGELES • Ellen DeGeneres on Thursday apologised to the staff of her television talk show, saying she was taking steps to improve the culture on set following accusations of a hostile working environment.

The e-mail followed an internal investigation by Warner Bros Television, which produces The Ellen DeGeneres Show (2003 to present), of complaints ranging from bullying to racism among production staff.

Warner Bros Television said in a statement that although "not all of the allegations were corroborated, we are disappointed that the primary findings of the investigation indicated some deficiencies related to the show's day-to-day management".

It said several staffing changes and other measures were being implemented, but did not give details.

The allegations, which were made by several former staff in a BuzzFeed article last month, painted a radically different view of life behind the cameras from the upbeat and positive vibe presented by DeGeneres on the show.

"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," DeGeneres, 62, wrote in an e-mail to staff that was made available to reporters.

"Obviously, something changed and I am disappointed to learn that this has not been the case. And for that, I am sorry," she added.

DeGeneres, one of the most prominent gay women celebrities in the United States, also referred to criticism that has been levelled at her personally in recent media reports.

"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," she said.

"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."

DeGeneres, whose show has won dozens of awards in its 17 years on the air, said she was glad that her production team was "finally having conversations about fairness and justice".

"We all have to be more mindful about the way our words and actions affect others," she added.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 01, 2020, with the headline 'Ellen DeGeneres says sorry for 'hostile work environment''. Print Edition | Subscribe