Staffers from The Ellen DeGeneres Show held a tense meeting to clear the air and find a way forward after the show found itself in crisis over allegations of an extremely toxic work environment, that Degeneres allegedly helped foment.
In recent weeks, former employees of the hit daytime talk show have described a toxic work environment of bullying, sexual misconduct, and even racism, with some alleging that DeGeneres was personally responsible for the chaotic culture. According to an insider who spoke with US Weekly, executive producers Andy Lassner, Mary Connelly, and Derek Westervelt held a call with staffers on Monday to address the media reports and assure staff they wanted them to “have fun at work.”
“They said a lot of [the claims are] true and a lot of it is not true,” the source explained. “They said we are handling everything [and] things will be very different now. … A show that brings so much happiness and fun, it should be a happy show to work on.”
During the meeting, various employees “voiced some concerns,” and “called out” producers about past incidents. However, they were assured that the show will not be going off-air amid reports that DeGeneres was considering quitting the broadcast.
“The producers ultimately said you all still have a job here and you will all get paid, however that may be,” the producers said. “They said Ellen [DeGeneres] is not giving up and the show will go on. … That woman brings so much joy to people that it would break a lot of hearts to stop doing this show. It was a pep talk and made some staffers feel better.”
In a statement last week, after BuzzFeed published their investigation, DeGeneres apologized to her staff but attempted to shift blame onto others.
“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,” she wrote in a publicly released memo. “Clearly some didn’t. That will now change and I’m committed to ensuring this does not happen again.”