Over the summer, dozens of current and former employees of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” came forward to claim that Ellen DeGeneres had turned a blind eye to racism, intimidation, and even sexual misconduct on the set of her show. Now, just when DeGeneres likely thought she had made it out of the woods when it came to this scandal, more claims of her negative behavior are coming to light.
A former assistant that worked on the show three to five days a week, often for up to twelve hours a day, told The Sun that crew members were made to feel like they had to stand with their backs against the wall if they ran into DeGeneres in the hallway. The source added that there was nothing “kind” about working for DeGeneres.
“It was never a ‘kind’ place. Ellen’s ‘be kind’ philosophy was never mentioned to us when we were working,” the source said. “I’m speaking out because I’m worried the people who enabled that ‘toxic environment’ to happen have got away with it and they’re still working there.”
The former assistant went on to claim that audience members were often judged on their looks, with the fans who were deemed to be the best looking being placed at the front so that they could appear more on camera. The “ugly” audience members were then placed at the back so that they would be more hidden. The source also claimed that audience seats were regularly overbooked, and that when fans emailed in complaints about this, they often “just got deleted.”
“The audience members who don’t get a seat for whatever reason were taken to the Riff-Raff Room where they could watch the show on monitors,” the ex-assistant said. “Ellen would regularly go to say a quick ‘hi’ but what fans didn’t know is staffers took off their IDs and pretended to be audience members, then got in-between Ellen and genuine audience members so she didn’t have to get close to her fans.”
“I never knew why that was, I can only guess it was so she kept her own space,” the source continued. “The show was always overbooked to make sure every seat was filled. There can’t be any vacant seats but they have to be filled with the right people, the best-looking people. Audience hopefuls are graded on their looks. The better-looking ones at the front so they get on camera more, the uglier ones at the back. Women were treated and judged by their appearance which is wrong.”
The former staffer went on to talk about the drama of passing DeGeneres in the hallway.
“I was with a colleague who had worked there longer than me. At this point I hadn’t seen much of Ellen at all,” the insider recalled. “We were walking down a corridor chatting, then ahead of us Ellen appeared with a security guard, walking straight towards us. The person I was with immediately stopped talking, stopped walking and stood with her back to the wall. I thought, ‘What the hell is going on?’
“At first I honestly thought it was a joke. But I could tell from my colleague’s face it was serious,” the source added. “So I followed suit. I shut up and stood with my back to the wall, too. Ellen walked past and didn’t even glance at us. We weren’t acknowledged by her in any way. I thought, ‘Ahh, so that’s how it goes around here.’”
DeGeneres apologized for her behavior when the new season of her show premiered last month.
“As you may have heard, this summer there were allegations of a toxic work environment at our show, and then there was an investigation,” she said.
“I learned that things happened here that never should have happened. I take that very seriously and I want to say I am so sorry to the people who were affected,” DeGeneres added. “I know that I am in a position of privilege and power and I realise that with that comes responsibility, and I take responsibility for what happens at my show.”