Ellen DeGeneres Speaks Out For First Time Following Toxic Workplace Claims
Ellen DeGeneres has spoken out for the first time regarding accusations of a toxic working environment on her show.
The presenter wrote an apology letter to her staff after WarnerMedia announced it would be undertaking an internal investigation into The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
It comes after 10 former Ellen employees are reported to have faced alleged racism, fear and intimidation while working behind the scenes of the show.
‘On day one of our show, I told everyone in our first meeting that The Ellen DeGeneres Show would be a place of happiness – no one would ever raise their voice, and everyone would be treated with respect,’ the 62-year-old wrote in the letter which has been seen by US Weekly.
‘Obviously, something changed, and I am disappointed to learn that this has not been the case. And for that, I am sorry. Anyone who knows me knows it’s the opposite of what I believe and what I hoped for our show.’
Ellen went on to say she wasn’t ‘able to stay on top of everything’ and that she ‘relied on others to do their jobs as they knew I’d want them done’, adding ‘clearly some didn’t’.
‘I’m also learning that people who work with me and for me are speaking on my behalf and misrepresenting who I am and that has to stop. 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. To think that any one of you felt that way is awful to me,’ she said.
Ellen said she’s ‘committed to ensuring this does not happen again’, and went on to welcome conversations about fairness and justice.
However, a number of fresh allegations have since emerged, with several former staffers alleging incidents of sexual misconduct and harassment from top executives.
On July 30, Buzzfeed reported that several former employees have accused executive producer Kevin Leman of behaving inappropriately at a company party in 2013 and in May 2017.
Almost a dozen former employees told the publication it was common place for Leman to make sexual comments in the office, regarding his male colleagues’ bulges and asking questions such as, ‘Are you a top or a bottom?’
He is also alleged to have solicited one ex-employee for oral sex and groped several others, including grabbing a production assistant’s genitalia. Another former employee said she witnessed him grope a production assistant in a car and kiss his neck.
Leman has denied ‘any kind of sexual impropriety’, while admitting he’s ‘horrified’ that his ‘attempts at humour may have caused offence’.
Five former employees also told the publication that executive producer Ed Glavin touched them in a way that made them feel uncomfortable, allegedly rubbing their shoulders and back and putting his hand around their waist.
Dozens are reported to have said he ‘had a reputation for being handsy with women’ as well as an explosive temper that created a ‘culture of fear’, deterring employees from voicing concerns.
He is yet to respond to the allegations.
Co-executive producer Jonathan Norman is alleged to have ‘groomed’ a former employee by taking him to concerts and giving him presents and perks, before then attempting to perform oral sex on him.
Norman is also yet to respond.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact the Rape Crisis England and Wales helpline on 0808 802 9999 between 12pm–2.30pm and 7pm– 9.30pm every day. Alternatively, you can contact Victim Support free on 08 08 16 89 111 available 24/7, every day of the year, including Christmas.
Male Survivors Partnership is available to support adult male survivors of sexual abuse and rape. You can contact the organisation on their website or on their free helpline 0808 800 5005, open 9am–5pm Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays; 8am–8pm Tuesdays and Thursdays; 10am – 2pm Saturdays.