While Ellen DeGeneres and her hit daytime series may be known for promoting kindness and wholesome fun, current and former staffers of the comedian claim “that ‘be kind’ bulls–t only happens when the cameras are on” in a new report slamming the show for constant fear and racism on-set.
“It’s all for show,” one former employee alleged to BuzzFeed News on Thursday, July 16. “I know they give money to people and help them out, but it’s for show.”
The exposé features one current and 10 former employees of The Ellen DeGeneres Show who alleged they were fired under unjust pretenses or left the program after grueling mistreatment. Some claimed they were let go after taking medical leave or bereavement days after suffering a loss. Others shared they allegedly were instructed not to talk to DeGeneres around the office. “Be kind to the world,” one former employee said, but “not your employees.”
Furthermore, a Black staff member claimed she experienced racist comments and “microaggressions” throughout her employment. In one instance at a work gathering, one of the writers allegedly said to her, “I’m sorry, I only know the names of the white people who work here.” Additionally, after the show hired another Black employee, a senior-level producer allegedly said, “Oh wow, you both have box braids; I hope we don’t get you confused.” After addressing these issues with those above her, her colleagues called “the PC police.”
“I think it is a lot of smoke and mirrors when it comes to the show’s brand,” another former employee claimed. “They pull on people’s heartstrings; they do know that’s going to get likes and what people are going to go for, which is a positive message. But that’s not always reality.”
While the majority of those who spoke out in the article claimed executives and senior management were to blame for the nasty workplace, one former employee said Ellen is ultimately to blame. “I think the executive producers surround her and tell her, ‘Things are going great, everybody’s happy,’ and she just believes that, but it’s her responsibility to go beyond that,” they said.
Executive producers Ed Glavin, Mary Connelly, and Andy Lassner said they take the allegations “very seriously” in a joint statement to BuzzFeed News.
“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.”
In Touch reached out to DeGeneres’ team for comment but did not hear back by the time of publication.