Ellen DeGeneres has been a life long source of controversy. Only now, those who championed her for speaking about diversity, compassion, and equality are the ones criticizing her.
The host of the Ellen DeGeneres Show has recently come under fire due to reports of employees of the show who spoke about a toxic work environment, where the higher-ups employ several forms of abuse. This is especially concerning for viewers given the forward-thinking and inclusive principles of Ellen DeGeneres.
While some were quick to dismiss these allegations, a BuzzFeed News report which came out last week proved not only that these are rea,l but that in fact, there is even more to the first allegations. The expose featured the stories of multiple ex-employees who all had similar accounts.
One of the most relevant stories shared by many is that of sexual abuse: Multiple sources talked about how three executive producers showed consistent sexual misconduct, including asking employees to perform sexual acts for them. And the misconduct extends to other areas as well.
Employees have also spoken about a workplace culture of racism, fear, and intimidation. Pay discrepancies ignored by higher-ups, multiple racial insensitivities, and jokes about black employees are all part of the story.
One important detail is that Ellen DeGeneres actually has no personal allegations against her. None except for her neglected responsibility to recognize and address these issues. After all, one has to practice what it preaches, and one of the things that the MeToo movement has taught us is that every one of us, especially those in powerful positions, must be held accountable for ignoring such abuses.
On a good note, Ellen seems to have recognized and accept responsibility in an open apology letter that she wrote to her employees. Here it is:
Hey everybody – it’s Ellen. On day one of our show, I told everyone in our first meeting that The Ellen DeGeneres Show would be a place of happiness – no one would ever raise their voice, and everyone would be treated with respect. Obviously, something changed, and I am disappointed to learn that this has not been the case. And for that, I am sorry. Anyone who knows me knows it’s the opposite of what I believe and what I hoped for our show.
I could not have the success I’ve had without all of your contributions. My name is on the show and everything we do and I take responsibility for that. Alongside Warner Bros, we immediately began an internal investigation and we are taking steps, together, to correct the issues. As we’ve grown exponentially, I’ve not been able to stay on top of everything and relied on others to do their jobs as they knew I’d want them done. Clearly some didn’t. That will now change and I’m committed to ensuring this does not happen again.
I’m also learning that people who work with me and for me are speaking on my behalf and misrepresenting who I am and that has to stop. As someone who was judged and nearly lost everything for just being who I am, I truly understand and have deep compassion for those being looked at differently, or treated unfairly, not equal, or – worse – disregarded. To think that any one of you felt that way is awful to me.
It’s been way too long, but we’re finally having conversations about fairness and justice. We all have to be more mindful about the way our words and actions affect others, and I’m glad the issues at our show were brought to my attention. I promise to do my part in continuing to push myself and everyone around me to learn and grow. It’s important to me and to Warner Bros. that everyone who has something to say can speak up and feels safe doing so.
I am so proud of the work we do and the fun and joy we all help put out in the world. I want everyone at home to love our show and I want everyone who makes it to love working on it. Again, I’m so sorry to anyone who didn’t have that experience. If not for COVID, I’d have done this in person, and I can’t wait to be back on our stage and see you all then.
Stay safe and healthy.