Journalist and radio host Neil Breen said Ellen DeGeneres’ employees “walked on eggshells” when working with the comedian on Australia’s Today show. The “whole thing [was] bizarre,” he said on the Tuesday, July 28, episode of his radio show, 4BC Breakfast With Neil Breen.
“When Ellen DeGeneres came to Australia to do her show in 2013, I was the executive producer of the Today show, so we partnered with them,” he said explaining the back story of how the two linked up. “Originally, she was going to cohost the Today show, then she was going to do this, then she was going to do that. The whole thing got watered down to Ellen DeGeneres would do a sit-down interview.”
Following the back and forth, they decided to film an interview with the talk show host and presenter Richard Wilkins.
“Because it’s the Ellen show, they controlled everything. They controlled the interview seats, the lights, how it would work, everything,” Breen revealed. “The producers called us aside and said, ‘This is how it’s going to work here this morning. Ellen’s going to arrive at 10:15, and she’ll be sitting in this chair. And Richard, you’ll be sitting in this chair here. Neil, no one’s to talk to Ellen. You don’t talk to her, you don’t approach her, you don’t look at her. She’ll come in, she’ll sit down, she’ll talk to Richard, then Ellen will leave.’”
Everything went according to plan and Breen couldn’t sneak a chat with DeGeneres. “I didn’t get to talk to her,” he reiterated. “I wasn’t allowed to. I don’t know if she’s a nice person or not. I wouldn’t have a clue.”
Although Breen is “not blaming Ellen for her staff members’ demands,” his story adds some validity to the recent allegations made against The Ellen DeGeneres Show. In a July 16 Buzzfeed article, several former staffers claimed they experienced racism and fear while working on set.
Executive producers Ed Glavin, Mary Connelly, and Andy Lassner said they take the allegations “very seriously” in a joint statement to BuzzFeed News. “We are truly heartbroken and sorry to learn that even one person in our production family has had a negative experience.”
Since then, Variety confirmed WarnerMedia would be investigating the claims further. DeGeneres has not yet addressed the matter.
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