Things just got a whole lot worse for Ellen DeGeneres, as her eponymous talkshow has reportedly been placed under investigation by WarnerMedia after reports came out of a “toxic work environment” that was rampant with racism and intimidation behind the scenes.
Earlier this month, a BuzzFeed News report came out in which ten former staffers on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” as well as one current employee made a series of claims about the racism and intimidation that they have experienced while working on the show. Variety has since confirmed this week that an investigation has been launched by show producer Telepictures and distributor Warner Bros. Television, who sent a memo to staffers last week notifying them of the probe.
In the memo, the companies said that they had hired the WBTV-owner WarnerMedia’s employee relations group and a third party firm, who will go about interviewing current and former staffers about the experiences that they had on set.
Numerous claims have been coming in about DeGeneres’ rude behavior behind the scenes on her show, both by those who have worked for her as well as by people who have appeared on the program as guests.
“Is she always nice? No,” one former staffer recently claimed of DeGeneres. “It irritates me that people think she’s all sweetness and light and she gets away with it.”
“A new staff member was told, ‘Every day she picks someone different to really hate. It’s not your fault, just suck it up for the day and she’ll be mean to someone else the next day.’ They didn’t believe it but it ended up being entirely true,” added a television writer.
Beauty influencer Nikkie de Jager also said that she had a negative experience with DeGeneres when appearing as a guest on her show earlier this year.
“Call me naive, but I kind of expected to be welcomed with confetti cannons,” de Jager said. “But instead I was greeted by an angry intern who was a bit overworked. I was expecting a Disney show, but I got Teletubbies after dark.”
After the Buzzfeed story came out this month, executive producers Andy Lassner, Mary Connelly, and Ed Glavin released a statement trying to take the blame for whatever happens on set themselves.
“We are truly heartbroken and sorry to learn that even one person in our production family has had a negative experience. It’s not who we are and not who we strive to be, and not the mission Ellen has set for us,” they said. “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.”
Given the fact that DeGeneres’ brand is all about preaching kindness to others, however, it may already be too late for her to bounce back from this.