The Ellen DeGeneres Show is the subject of an internal investigation by WarnerMedia following a report alleging racism and intimidation at the long-running daytime talk program. A source told NBC News that the investigation does not involve DeGeneres herself, saying, “It’s not about her, at all.”
Variety reports that a memo was sent to staffers saying a WarnerMedia employee relations group as well as a third party firm are conducting the investigation: “The memo comes on the heels of recent unflattering reports about working conditions at the show. In April, Variety reported on the treatment of legacy crew members during the coronavirus lockdown. In mid-July, BuzzFeed published a report alleging racism and intimidation on the show.”
Buzzfeed reported: “BuzzFeed News spoke to one current and 10 former employees on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, all of whom asked to remain anonymous, fearing retribution from the award-winning NBC daytime talk show and others in the entertainment industry. They said they were fired after taking medical leave or bereavement days to attend family funerals. One employee, who claims she was fed up with comments about her race, essentially walked off the job. Others said they were also instructed by their direct managers to not speak to DeGeneres if they saw her around the office.”
Variety‘s report was more directly about conditions during the pandemic: “The core stage crew for ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show,’ consisting of more than 30 employees, received no written communication about the status of their working hours, pay, or inquiries about their mental and physical health from producers for over a month, said two sources, both of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity. Higher-ups in production would occasionally answer phone calls but reveal little, added one of the sources. The crew was further incensed by the show’s recent hire of an outside, non-union tech company to help DeGeneres tape remotely from her home in California. When production executives finally did weigh in, nearly all crew members were told last week to brace for a 60% reduction in pay, even as the show continues to air, according to sources close to the matter.”
More details at the links above.
Ed Glavin, Mary Connelly and Andy Lassner, the show’s executive producers, released a joint statement: “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. 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.”