Update 31/07/2020: Ellen DeGeneres has spoken out in response to the allegations of the alleged “toxic culture” that has developed behind the scenes at The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
In a letter written to her staff, attained by The Hollywood Reporter, DeGeneres mentions her desire to take responsibility for the alleged toxic culture since the show bears her name, and she has vowed to “correct the issues” moving forward.
“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,” DeGeneres wrote in the letter. “That will now change and I’m committed to ensuring this does not happen again.”
She also addressed those who felt discriminated against while working on her show. “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,” she wrote.
Original 29/07/2020: If you're present on the internet, you're sure to have heard a sliver of the controversy surrounding Ellen DeGeneres and the accusations involving her past behaviour. However, the talk show host isn't the only one in hot water.
As of July 27, Variety has reported that an internal investigation is being conducted on The Ellen DeGeneres Show following multiple allegations of her senior staff creating a "toxic" work environment. This follows the slew of controversy thrown DeGeneres' way since the beginning of 2020.
Below, we've wrapped up everything you need to know about the allegations surrounding both DeGeneres and the team behind her hit talk-show.
When Did The Accusations First Begin?
The first public accusation against DeGeneres was by YouTube beauty sensation NikkieTutorials, real name Nikkie De Jager, who was a guest on the talk show in April 2020. Jager described the talk-show host as "distant and cold" and detailed her experience on The Ellen Show as disappointing.
"Call me naive, but I kind of expected to be welcomed with confetti cannons: 'Welcome to The Ellen DeGeneres Show!' But instead I was greeted by an angry intern who was a bit overworked," the Dutch 26-year-old makeup artist revealed in a translated version of an interview with Dutch magazine &C.
"I was expecting a Disney show, but got Teletubbies after dark," she said. "I was not allowed to use the nearest toilet, because it was reserved for the Jonas Brothers. Why do they get a private toilet, I thought."
"After Ellen, I figured don't meet your idols," she concluded.
What Other Accusations Have Surfaced Since Then?
From there, the internet became awry with stories from many people who have (or known someone who has) worked with DeGeneres in the past.
Started by writer Kevin T. Porter back in March, his Twitter thread was the first legitimate insight into claims against DeGeneres, and gained traction again after Jagger's interview.
Replying to the tweet, TV writer Benjamin Siemon admitted: "She has a 'sensitive nose' so everyone must chew gum from a bowl outside her office before talking to her and if she thinks you smell that day you have to go home and shower."
He also tweeted: "A new staff member was told, 'Every day she picks someone different to really hate. It's not your fault, just suck it up for the day and she'll be mean to someone else the next day.' They didn't believe it but it ended up being entirely true."
Another tweet read: "I worked @RealFoodDaily, served her…at brunch. She wrote a letter to the owner & complained about my chipped nail polish (not that it was on her plate but just that it was on my hand). I had worked till closing the night before & this was next morn, almost got me fired."
And while the online accusations did not stop there, a recent comment that she made on her at-home edition of The Ellen Show sent viewers into an outrage.
In April 2020, DeGeneres began hosting her talk show from her home amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, yet in her opening monologue in an episode, she made a joke, sending social media into another uproar.
"This is like being in jail is what it is," DeGeneres joked. "Mostly because I've been wearing the same clothes for 10 days and everyone in here is gay!"
To add fire to the flame, DeGeneres' former bodyguard Tom Majercak, who was assigned to protect DeGeneres during the 2014 Oscars, revealed that he could attest to the recent allegations made by others about her unfriendly and selfish demeanour.
In May 2020, Majercak revealed that he too experienced a less-than-pleasant experience while up-close with the host.
"I'm holding their hands and walking them through individuals and large groups of people. Ellen is the one person that I've been assigned to—and I've been assigned to quite a few celebrities—that has never taken the time to say hi to me," Majercak said.
"It started going negatively when [Portia De Rossi] introduced me to Ellen and Ellen pretty much just gave me a side glance out of her eye and didn't even say, 'Hello,' or 'Thank you for protecting my mother, my wife and me,'" Majercak revealed.
"It was very cold and it was very sly and it was actually kind of demeaning in the way that she treats people other than those who are in her circle."
What Are The New Accusations Surrounding The Ellen DeGeneres Show?
After 10 former employees and one current employee spoke anonymously to BuzzFeed News, the group revealed the microaggressions and racism they faced while working on the show, and how it runs rampant with favouritism from executive producers.
In particular, a Black former employee revealed that a senior-level producer told her and another Black employee, “Oh wow, you both have box braids; I hope we don’t get you confused.”
She also revealed that a writer at a party told her, “I’m sorry, I only know the names of the white people who work here,” while other coworkers laughed. Another story included a different member of staff who was reportedly fired for taking three-weeks leave after a car accident.
"People focus on rumours about how Ellen is mean and everything like that, but that's not the problem," one employee said. "The issue is these three executive producers running the show who are in charge of all these people [and] who make the culture and are putting out this feeling of bullying and being mean".
"They feel that everybody who works at The Ellen Show is lucky to work there: ‘So if you have a problem, you should leave because we'll hire someone else because everybody wants to work here.'"
According to Us Weekly, staff are reportedly happy that the issues on set have become more widely known, with a source admitting that “they’ve been calling and texting each other about the story. They’re loving that the truth—which has been an open secret for years in the industry—is finally receiving more interest.”
Executive producers Ed Glavin, Mary Connelly and Andy Lassner released a statement to E! News about the claims, taking responsibility for the show and attempting to distance Ellen from the allegations:
"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 realize, as many in the world are learning, that we need to do better, are committed to do better, and we will do better."
However, Ellen DeGeneres is yet to comment on the allegations against her and her staff.