Every time you refresh your Internet browser these days, someone is attacking Ellen DeGeneres.
Over the last few days alone, the comedian has been accused of anchoring a series that’s responsible for cruel, racist and sexist behavior.
The Ellen DeGeneres Show is, simply put, a toxic work environment.
But while former staffers, guests and producers are coming out and telling their sordid stories to various outlets these days, Ellen can take solace in having at least one person still in her corner:
On Monday, Portia de Rossi posted a meme to Instagram, along with a simple caption and a few hashtags.
“To all our fans….we see you,” the 47-year old actress wrote, along with the following image.
“Thank you for your support. #stopbotattacks #IStandWithEllenDeGeneres #IStandByEllen.”
Stop bot attacks? What a weird thing to say, right?
de Rossi seems to be implying here that automated social media accounts are responsible for the ongoing trashing of DeGeneres.
However, the scathing reports that continue to go viral all stem from conversations with former, disgruntled talk show employees.
These individuals have anonymously alleged sexual misconduct and harassment involving executive producers at the show, including Ed Glavin and head writer Kevin Leman.
In a new piece for The Wrap, Hedda Muskat recalled behind hired in 2003 as a producer… when the show was still in development.
She worked there for about 18 months, and simply couldn’t believe the way Glavin, for one, behaved.
“He just went off on [a crew member],” she claimed, thinking back to an infamous meeting.
“His whole face turned red…We were stunned. You could just see everybody’s faces go stiff. We’re professionals; we’re adults. We don’t need a dog to get us to do our jobs.”
Muskat added that DeGeneres just sat there and giggled during this outburst.
She would later describe her days working on the show as a “culture of fear.”
She was eventually let go in May 2004 — just days before The Ellen DeGeneres Show won Outstanding Talk Show at the Daytime Emmy Awards.
In an open message to her staff on July 31, DeGeneres addressed all of these troubling allegations.
“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,” she said.
“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.”
The previously-beloved 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.
“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.
“That will now change and I’m committed to ensuring this does not happen again.”
Ellen vowed to do her “part” in pushing herself and others “to learn and grow.”
“We all have to be more mindful about the way our words and actions affect others, and I’m glad the issues at our show were brought to my attention,” she added.
“I promise to do my part in continuing to push myself and everyone around me to learn and grow.
“It’s important to me and to Warner Bros. that everyone who has something to say can speak up and feels safe doing so.”
Warner Bros., meanwhile, acknowledged in a statement last Thursday that “dozens of current and former employees” had been interviewed, and that they were “disappointed that the primary findings of the investigation indicated some deficiencies related to the show’s day-to-day management.”
The company also said:
Going forward, the production company said it has “identified several staffing changes, along with appropriate measures to address the issues that have been raised, and are taking the first steps to implement them.”
“Warner Bros. and Ellen DeGeneres are all committed to ensuring a workplace based on respect and inclusion.
“We are confident this course of action will lead us to the right way forward for the show.”
Forget what you’ve heard about Ellen DeGeneres and the talk show she anchors.
Or at least what you’ve heard in terms of this program’s future on air.
According to producer Andy Lassner, The Ellen DeGeneres Show is alive, well and is NOT about to get canceled.
Over the past several days, this once-beloved series has been at the center of one scathing report after another.
In mid-July, Buzzfeed News published an article that quoted nearly a dozen former staffers, all of whom outlined a culture of misconduct and abuse behind the scenes of the talk show.
These ex-employees said they were fired after taking medical leave or bereavement days… faced microaggressions … and were subjected to favoritism by executive producers.
There were also claims of racism by these executives.
About two weeks later, Buzzfeed News also reported that producer/head writer Kevin Leman groped employees and made inappropriate remarks about their appearances on a regular basis.
This behavior allegedly went unchecked for years.
One former employee even detailed how Leman asked if he would perform oral sex in the bathroom at a company party in 2013.
No wonder there’s been talk of axing a program that is led by these kinds of people, right?
Lassner doesn’t seem fazed by the speculation, though.
“Me: I really think 2020 is gonna turn around and start getting better,” he captioned a post on Thursday, July 30, adding:
“2020: Lol, I’m gonna make your bed the epicenter.”
A follower then wrote back to Lassner:
“I seriously wish you well. If the Ellen show goes off the air due to all these allegations (I, personally, have stopped watching) I hope you are able to find employment quickly. Your twitter account always made me laugh.”
In response, the producer simply wrote:
Nobody is going off the air.
Lassner’s message came in the wake of one of the aforementioned former employees saying Ellen was in charge of a “toxic work environment.”
“People focus on rumors about how Ellen is mean and everything like that, but that’s not the problem,” one ex-employee told Buzzfeed News.
“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.”
The producers in question are Ed Glavin, Mary Connelly and Lassner.
“We are truly heartbroken and sorry to learn that even one person in our production family has had a negative experience,” they said in a joint statement late last month.
“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.”
That sounds noble and all — but Ellen DeGeneres’ name is on the show.
Following weeks’ of silence, the comedian therefore issued her own reply to these troubling claims last week.
“My name is on the show and everything we do and I take responsibility for that,” she said at the time, pushing some blame on to others and adding:
“I’m 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.”
Referencing her sexual orientation, DeGeners continued:
“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.
“It’s been way too long, but we’re finally having conversations about fairness and justice.”
I am so proud of the work we do and the fun and joy we all help put out in the world.
I want everyone at home to love our show and I want everyone who makes it to love working on it.
Again, I’m so sorry to anyone who didn’t have that experience. If not for COVID, I’d have done this in person, and I can’t wait to be back on our stage and see you all then.
Stay safe and healthy.