Ellen DeGeneres apologises to staff amid toxic workplace allegations

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FOX PRESENTS THE IHEART LIVING ROOM CONCERT FOR AMERICA:  Ellen DeGeneres during the FOX PRESENTS THE IHEART LIVING ROOM CONCERT FOR AMERICA, a music event to provide entertainment relief and support for Americans to help fight the spread of the COVID-19 virus and to celebrate the resilience and strength of the nation during this pandemic. The one-hour benefit special will air on Sunday, March 29, from 9:00-10:00 PM ET/6:00-7:00 PM PT on FOX, on iHeartMedia radio stations nationwide and via the iHeartRadio app. The benefit special will be broadcast commercial-free.(Photo by FOX via Getty Images)
Ellen DeGeneres during the FOX presents the IHeart Living Room Concert For America (FOX via Getty Images)

Ellen DeGeneres has apologised to staff amid allegations of a toxic work environment on her talk show.

A number of staff from the daytime programme recently spoke out anonymously to Buzzfeed claiming they had experienced intimidation and racism working on the show, and it was reported that WarnerMedia launched an internal investigation in response.

DeGeneres, 62, has now addressed the situation in a letter to her crew, which was obtained by The Hollywood Reporter.

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In it, she says that when The Ellen DeGeneres Show started she told everyone it would be “a place of happiness”.

“Obviously, something changed, and I am disappointed to learn that this has not been the case,” she said. “And for that, I am sorry.”

BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 05: Ellen DeGeneres attends The 77th Golden Globes Awards - Press Room at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 05, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
Ellen DeGeneres attends The 77th Golden Globes Awards in 2020 (David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

The star continued: “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.”

DeGeneres said as the programme grew she had not been able to stay on top of everything and relied on others to do their jobs as they knew she would want them to be done.

“Clearly some didn't,” she said. “That will now change and I'm committed to ensuring this does not happen again.”

DeGeneres said she had also realised that people who worked with and for her were speaking for her and misrepresenting her and that “that has to stop”.

Apparently drawing on her own experiences of when she came out as gay, the star said she has “deep compassion” for those being “looked at differently, or treated unfairly, not equal, or - worse - disregarded”.

US comedian Ellen DeGeneres introduces Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus during the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards on January 26, 2020, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP) (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)
Ellen DeGeneres introduces Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus during the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards on January 26, 2020 (ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

In Buzzfeed’s story, one current and 10 former employees spoke anonymously of their experiences.

The allegations included employees being fired after taking medical leave or bereavement days, facing microaggressions and a culture of bullying and favouritism by executive producers.

No specific claims were made against DeGeneres.

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Executive producers Ed Glavin, Mary Connelly and Andy Lassner said in a statement: "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 realise, as many in the world are learning, that we need to do better, are committed to do better, and we will do better."

The Ellen DeGeneres Show has been on the air since 2013 and has won 61 Daytime Emmy Awards and 17 People's Choice Awards.

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