Kelly Clarkson: Alleged Toxic Behind-the-Scenes Behavior on Her Show Is ‘Unacceptable’
Update, May 14, 2023: Kelly Clarkson has responded to Rolling Stone’s allegations in an Instagram post. “In my 20 years in the entertainment industry, I’ve always led with my heart and what I believed to be right,” she wrote on May 13. “I love my team at The Kelly Clarkson Show, and to find out that anyone is feeling unheard and or disrespected on this show is unacceptable.”
Read the full statement here:
NBCUniversal responded with a statement of its own, per Vanity Fair: “We are committed to a safe and respectful work environment and take workplace complaints very seriously, and to insinuate otherwise is untrue. When issues are reported, they are promptly reviewed, investigated and acted upon as appropriate. The Kelly Clarkson Show strives to build a safe, respectful and equitable workplace that nurtures a culture of inclusivity and creativity.”
Original story, May 12, 2023:
While The Kelly Clarkson Show is sunny and full of song onscreen, employees allege that the program is toxic for workers behind the scenes, according to a new Rolling Stone report.
One current employee and 10 former staffers, all anonymous, characterized the NBC daytime talk show, which debuted in September 2019, as an environment where employees are overworked, underpaid, and subjected to bullying and favoritism from high-level producers. But sources made clear that host Kelly Clarkson isn’t privy to the alleged issues plaguing her namesake show. “NBC is protecting the show because it’s their new moneymaker, but Kelly has no clue how unhappy her staff is,” a former employee told Rolling Stone. (NBC, Clarkson, and the show’s executive producer, Alex Duda, didn’t respond to the outlet’s requests for comment. Vanity Fair has reached out to reps for NBC, Clarkson, and Duda for comment as well.)
“Kelly is fantastic. She is a person who never treats anyone with anything but dignity and is incredibly appreciative,” a former employee said. “I would be shocked if she knew. I’d be floored if she knew the staff wasn’t getting paid for two weeks of Christmas hiatus. The Kelly that I interacted with and that everyone knows would probably be pretty aghast to learn that.”
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Multiple staffers instead lay the blame on executive producer and showrunner Duda, who had similar duties on Steve Harvey and The Tyra Banks Show. “I think Alex Duda’s a monster,” a former employee said. “I have a friend who’s an executive producer who warned me about taking this job because apparently she has done this on every show she’s worked on.”
Employees further claimed that they were only made aware of exact details regarding the production’s relocation from Los Angeles to New York minutes before Variety confirmed the news on Monday. Several employees also claimed that though they brought their workplace concerns to HR, they were ultimately met with inaction. One former staffer who has worked on multiple sets said The Kelly Clarkson Show “is by far the worst experience I’ve ever had in my entire life,” adding, “It deterred me from wanting to work in daytime ever again. When I say I was traumatized, I was really traumatized.”
The show, which is currently in its fourth season and has been renewed through its sixth season in 2025, is also being investigated by the Writers Guild of America. According to emails obtained by Rolling Stone, producers allegedly wrote episodes of the unionized show, which is a contractual violation. One of the program’s current employees said that new episodes were meant to be taped until May 20, but because of the ongoing strike, staffers believe it’s unlikely that the latest season will be completed. (The WGA didn’t immediately respond to the outlet’s request for comment.)
Ultimately, the show’s cheery disposition doesn’t jibe with its off-air toxicity, as one current employee puts it: “Kelly uses a sign-off, ‘Make it a great day and if it’s not great, change it,’ but it’s hard to exist and work in a machine that’s pumping out this happy, bubbly, positive messaging and then you have people here who are just treated badly.”
This article first appeared on Vanity Fair.
Originally Appeared on Glamour