Talk show queen Ellen DeGeneres kicked off the new TV season Monday in damage control mode, publicly apologizing to staffers who have alleged workplace misconduct from high ranking producers. She also promised a “new chapter” going forward for the long-running daytime chat show.
DeGeneres opened her show’s 18th season with an on-air apology to her virtual audience.
“As you may have heard this summer, there were allegations of a toxic work environment at our show and then there was an investigation. I learned that things happened here that never should’ve happened,” she said. “I take that very seriously, and I want to say I am so sorry to the people who were affected.”
Today we’re starting a new chapter. pic.twitter.com/PvpZXnXLv5
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) September 21, 2020
She continued: “I know that I’m in a position of privilege and power, and I realize that with that comes with responsibility, and I take responsibility for what happens at my show. This is The Ellen DeGeneres Show. I am Ellen DeGeneres.”
“We have had a lot of conversations over the last few weeks about the show, our workplace and what we want for the future,” she added. “We have made the necessary changes and today we are starting a new chapter.”
Buzzfeed News broke the story in July of several former employees who claimed that the long-running daytime talk show is hiding a toxic work culture where people are mistreated and fired for taking medical leave and bereavement days.
The accusations snowballed from there, with some former male staffers also alleging they were sexually harassed and even sexually assaulted by high-level producers.
WarnerMedia has launched an investigation into the show though it remains unclear what the investigation has found and if it is ongoing.
On Monday, DeGeneres acknowledged the “toxic” work culture allegations in her monologue but omitted references to the sexual harassment and assault accusations against her show.
DeGeneres attempted to reassure viewers that her “Be Kind” motto isn’t just a facade. “The truth is I am that person that you see on TV. I am also a lot of other things. Sometimes I get sad, I get mad, I get anxious, I get frustrated, I get impatient, and I am working on all of that.”
“I am a work in progress,” she continued. “And I am especially working on the impatience thing, and it’s not going well because it’s not happening fast enough, I will tell you that.”
She added: “This is me, and my intention is to always be the best person I can be. And if I ever let someone down, if I ever hurt their feelings, I am so sorry for that. If that’s ever the case, I let myself down and I hurt myself as well. Because I always try to grow as a person.”