‘Ellen DeGeneres Show’ under internal investigation over racism and intimidation claims

Albertina Lloyd
·Entertainment reporter, Yahoo UK
·3-min read

The Ellen DeGeneres Show is reportedly being investigated following multiple allegations of its “toxic work environment”.

A number of staff on the daytime talk show recently spoke out anonymously to Buzzfeed about their experiences of intimidation and racism working on the show and in response WarnerMedia has launched an internal investigation.

Variety reported that executives from production company Telepictures and distributor Warner Bros Television sent a memo to employees last week informing them WBTV-owner WarnerMedia’s employee relations group has hired a third party firm to interview current and former staff about their experiences working on the show.

FILE - In a Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020 file photo, Ellen DeGeneres, winner of the Carol Burnett award, poses in the press room at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, in Beverly Hills, Calif. "The Masked Singer" has been such a hit for Fox that the network is doubling down on hidden entertainers. Fox says it's joining with Ellen DeGeneres to produce "The Masked Dancer," a celebrity competition show based on "The Masked Singer" and a segment that DeGeneres originated on her talk show. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)
'The Ellen DeGeneres Show' is being investigated. (AP)

A Warner Bros. Television spokesperson declined to comment on the matter.

Read more: Ellen DeGeneres responds to criticism for sitting with George W. Bush at match

The investigation follows Buzzfeed’s recent expose on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in which 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, although some staff claimed they were told not to speak to the TV presenter and comedian if she was in the office.

Portia de Rossi, left, and Ellen DeGeneres arrive at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
Ellen DeGeneres with her wife Portia de Rossi. (AP)

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."

Read more: 'Ellen' show producers respond to cancellation rumours

One woman who worked on The Ellen DeGeneres Show claimed she experienced what she described as "microaggressions" and was "reprimanded" by Galvin for asking for a raise and suggesting staff members undergo diversity and inclusion training.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 26: Ellen DeGeneres speaks onstage during the 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards at STAPLES Center on January 26, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)
Ellen DeGeneres has hosted the show for seven years. (Getty Images)

Another former employee said that after taking a one-month medical leave following a suicide attempt, they returned to work and were told their position was being eliminated.

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

In 2019, DeGeneres, 62, confirmed that the program had been renewed for three more years.

Earlier this month Telepictures denied rumours the show was set to be cancelled.

DeGeneres’s former security guard Tom Majercak recently told Fox News the star was “very cold” and “false”, claiming that when he worked with her she didn’t engage at all beyond a “side glance out of her eye”.