Former ‘Ellen DeGeneres’ Staffers Come Forward Saying Show Was a “Toxic Work Environment”

Mehera Bonner
Photo credit: Dave Kotinsky - Getty Images
Photo credit: Dave Kotinsky - Getty Images

From Cosmopolitan

  • Former employees from The Ellen DeGeneres Show have come forward about the alleged “toxic work environment” on-set.

  • Employees said they faced microaggressions and racism and were fired after taking medical leave, among other claims.

Employees on The Ellen DeGeneres Show are coming forward about the “toxic work environment” on the set of the long-running talk show. According to 10 former employees and 1 current employee who spoke anonymously to BuzzFeed News, Ellen’s show is rife with favoritism from executive producers as well as microaggressions and racism.

“People focus on rumors about how Ellen is mean and everything like that, but that’s not the problem,” one employee said. “The issue is these three executive producers running the show, who are in charge of all these people, who make the culture and are putting out this feeling of bullying and being mean. They feel that everybody who works at The Ellen Show is lucky to work there: ‘So if you have a problem, you should leave because we’ll hire someone else because everybody wants to work here.’”

A Black former employee told BuzzFeed News she faced microaggressions as well as racist comments on-set—including from a senior-level producer who told her and another Black employee, “Oh, wow, you both have box braids—I hope we don’t get you confused.” She also experienced a writer at a party telling her, “I’m sorry, I only know the names of the white people who work here,” while coworkers laughed.

Eventually, she was called into a meeting with executive producer Ed Glavin, who “reprimanded” her for objecting to the term “spirit animal” as well as for asking for a raise and requesting diversity and inclusion training for the staff. “He said that I was walking around looking resentful and angry.” She added, “I feel like I’m not alone in this. We all feel this. We’ve been feeling this way, but I’ve been too afraid to say anything because everyone knows what happens when you say something as a Black person. You’re blacklisted.”

On top of this, another former employee said she was fired after taking a one-month medical leave following a suicide attempt. And yet another was reportedly fired for taking a three-week leave after a car accident.

“They hire people who maybe are inexperienced with how a functional, nontoxic work environment actually is or someone who just wants to be in that atmosphere so bad that they’ll put up with it,” one former employee said. “They kind of feed off of that, like, ‘This is Ellen; this is as good as it gets. You’ll never find anything better than this.’”

Executive producers Ed Glavin, Mary Connelly, and Andy Lassner released a statement to E! News about the claims, distancing Ellen from themselves:

“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.”

Ellen has yet to comment on the allegations.

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