Employees of talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, who are reportedly “loving” people, are coming forward after reports of a “toxic work environment”.
The 62-year-old host has been facing several reports of alleged bad behaviour lately despite her kind-hearted image on the show.
The Buzzfeed news and entertainment company recently published an unsavoury article about the show and claimed to have spoken to anonymous workers, with one still working there.
The report said that the workers were mistreated either by Ellen or the show’s producers.
The Us Weekly celebrity and entertainment magazine reported on Wednesday that the scandal is uniting staff behind the scenes.
“They’ve been calling and texting each other about the story,” an insider claimed. “They’re loving that the truth — which has been an open secret for years in the industry — is finally receiving more interest.”
The Buzzfeed article quoted 11 workers from the show with some claiming that they faced racism, fear and intimidation while working on the series.
In response to the allegations, executive producers Ed Glavin, Mary Connelly and Andy Lassner issued a joint statement saying that they “strive to create an open, safe and inclusive work environment”.
“We are truly heartbroken and sorry to learn that even one person in our production family has had a negative experience,” the statement added.
At the start of the month, reps for the show were forced to deny reports that it was on the brink of being axed.
DeGeneres continues to broadcast her daytime show from her living room of the Santa Barbara, California, mansion she shares with wife Portia De Rossi, 47. Her show has been running since 2003.
The host has been repeatedly slammed on social media after numerous reports surfaced in April showing how she treats others when the cameras are not rolling.
Variety magazine reported that month that a group of 30 crew members were unhappy after DeGeneres hired an external company to film the shows. They were also rankled at what they called a lack of communication or transparency about their jobs following the March shutdown amid the Covid-19 outbreak.
“Higher-ups in production would occasionally answer phone calls but reveal little” to the crew members, who had their pay slashed by 40 per cent amid changes brought about by the virus, insiders told the outlet.
They said that this was not the case with all the shows, as crews for John Oliver, Desus and Mero and Samantha Bee were paid their full rates, while Jimmy Kimmel dipped into his own pocket for a time to keep his staff getting their regular rates.
In response to that, the DeGeneres show’s executive producers said: “Our executive producers and Telepictures are committed to taking care of our staff and crew and have made decisions first and foremost with them in mind.”
DeGeneres also came under fire after a series of tweets from comic Kevin T. Porter on March 20 asking his followers to post “insane” tales of “Ellen being mean” caught the attention of social media. (Porter’s effort was linked to a charity drive for the Los Angeles Food Bank.)
Writer Ben Simeon said that a new staff member was told: “Every day she picks someone different to really hate. It’s not your fault, just suck it up for the day and she’ll be mean to someone else the next day.” He said they did not believe it, but it ended up being entirely true.
He added: “Everyone must chew gum from a bowl outside her office before talking to her and if she thinks you smell that day you have to go home and shower.”
Ellen — who Forbes reported is worth around US$330 million (S$456 million) — has also caught flak for tone deafness after joking that locking down in her luxurious mansion was “like being in jail”. /TISG