Ellen DeGeneres has issued an apology to the staff of her eponymous talk show amid allegations of a toxic work environment. In the note obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, the Emmy winner, 62, declared that she is taking responsibility and steps are being taken to “correct issues.”
“Hey everybody — it’s Ellen. 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 began the letter to staff.
DeGeneres noted that “obviously, something changed” on her show. “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,” she wrote.
The TV host acknowledged that she would not have achieved her success without her staff’s contributions. “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,” DeGeneres shared.
She continued, “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.”
DeGeneres revealed that she is learning some people she works with have been “misrepresenting” her and speaking on her behalf. “That has to stop,” she said.
The comedian, who came out as gay in 1997, admitted she has compassion for people who are treated unfairly. “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 penned. “It’s been way too long, but we’re finally having conversations about fairness and justice. We all have to be more mindful about the way our words and actions affect others.”
The Finding Dory star is “glad the issues” at her show were brought to her attention. “I promise to do my part in continuing to push myself and everyone around me to learn and grow,” she pledged. “It’s important to me and to Warner Bros. that everyone who has something to say can speak up and feels safe doing so.”
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DeGeneres added, “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.”
The host’s memo came days after it was reported that Warner Media had initiated an internal investigation following a BuzzFeed News report that alleged racism, fear and intimidation on the Ellen show. On Thursday, the outlet published a new report claiming executive producers engaged in sexual misconduct and harassment.
A Warner Bros. spokesperson toldin a statement: “Warner Bros. and Ellen DeGeneres take the recent allegations around the show’s workplace culture very seriously. We hoped to determine the validity and extent of publicly reported allegations and to understand the full breadth of the show’s day-to-day culture. As a result, WarnerMedia interviewed dozens of current and former employees about the environment at The Ellen DeGeneres Show. It was important to both Warner Bros. and Ellen that as many people as possible attached to the program could be heard. The Ellen DeGeneres Show is, and has always strived to be, a place that brings positivity to the world.”
The spokesperson noted that although “not all of the allegations were corroborated,” they are “disappointed that the primary findings of the investigation indicated some deficiencies related to the show’s day-to-day management.”
“We have 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,” the spokesperson stated. “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.”