WarnerMedia has launched an internal investigation into The Ellen DeGeneres Show and its workplace environment after numerous accounts and complaints of workplace discrimination and mistreatment on the set of the long-running, Emmy-winning, daytime show.
What We Know:
- Executives from Warner Bros. Television and the production company Telepictures sent a memo to employees of the talk show last week that outlined the company’s investigation. The letter shared that a third party firm and WarnerMedia’s employee relations department will conduct interviews with former and current staff about their experiences with the show.
- The decision to start the investigation followed the publication of several articles that included allegations of discrimination and mistreatment from current and former employees.
- In April, Variety reported on the treatment and distress of the core stage crew for the show during the coronavirus lockdown. The employees were furious about their treatment as they received little to no communication from producers about the status of their working hours, pay, or inquiries about their mental and physical health for over a month.
- Earlier this month, BuzzFeed News published an article that described what it called a “toxic work culture”. In the article, one current and ten former show employees said they faced “racism, fear, and intimidation” and laid most of the blame on three of the show’s executive producers, Ed Glavin, Mary Connelly, and Andy Lassner, but said ultimately, it’s DeGeneres’ name on the show and “she really needs to take more responsibility” for the workplace environment.
- Other complaints against the show include former employees saying they were fired for taking time off for either medical leave or bereavement days for family funerals. Black employees said they experienced racist comments, actions, and microaggressions; one employee said she essentially walked off the show after she was fed up with comments surrounding her race. The former employees all shared how they experienced what they described as day-to-day toxicity on the set.
- Glavin, Connelly, and Lassner released a joint statement to BuzzFeed News for the article saying, “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 realize, as many in the world are learning, that we need to do better, are committed to do better, and we will do better.”
- Warner Bros. Television and a representative for DeGeneres declined to comment. No specific allegations were made against DeGeneres, who has hosted the program since 2003.
The Ellen DeGeneres Show, the winner of dozens of Emmys and 17 seasons, is currently on summer hiatus with an unclear return date due to the pandemic and impending investigation by WarnerMedia.