Popular social figure and entertainer Ellen DeGeneres has been under fire recently. DeGeneres has had multiple fans, guests of the show and coworkers come out to speak on the toxic and harsh conditions the show is run under. The show, which has a light-hearted and comedic demeanor, typically consists of games, celebrity interviews, dancing and DeGeneres giving away large sums of money to deserving families and people doing good in their community. It was shocking for fans to hear the allegations against DeGeneres, labeling her as facilitating a toxic work environment, leading to an internal investigation.
Let’s take a look at what led to the investigation being launched and some of the allegations that are being shared. Buzzfeed released an article featuring past and present employees of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” The employees wished to remain anonymous, but shared details that painted DeGeneres as only being nice when the camera was on. Glamour writes about the Buzzfeed article and reports that one Black woman said she was subjected to microaggressions and racist comments, including remarks about her box braids. She also said one of Ellen’s senior writers confused her with another Black staffer at a work party and told her, ‘I’m sorry, I only know the names of the white people who work here.’” While none of these allegations were directed specifically to DeGeneres, one of the employees in the article said that “If she wants to have her own show and have her name on the show title, she needs to be more involved to see what’s going on.”
Another issue that has been tied to “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” is disputes over pay during the global COVID-19 pandemic. Employees report having little to no feedback or communication about their jobs, then learned that DeGeneres hired nonunion workers to help her film from her house. Sexual misconduct allegations have also been floating around in regards to “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” Buzzfeed released another article about the show, this time highlighting the head writer and executive producer Kevin Leman. Buzzfeed talked with 36 people regarding Leman’s inappropriate behavior in the workplace. A US Weekly article mentions that after speaking to an inside source, DeGeneres feels “pissed that people have come forward to share these negative stories about her and feels betrayed.” The source continues, “She knows she can be tough at times, but believes she works hard and is extremely creative, and that it’s a privilege to work for her and be around her.”
Even with all these allegations against the show, DeGeneres has no intention of slowing her production. With the new season of her show beginning, DeGeneres put together an apology for the first episode that came out on Sept. 21. CBS News describes the apology as “taking responsibility for the allegations at the talk show without addressing specific details; she focused most of her opening speech on denying implications that she was aware of the misconduct taking place behind the scenes.”