Ellen DeGeneres Addresses Toxic Workplace Controversy for First Time on Air: ‘We Are Starting a New Chapter’
Ellen DeGeneres addressed the allegations of a toxic work environment in her opening monologue Monday, apologizing to viewers and employees and taking responsibility for what happened on her show.
“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 have happened,” DeGeneres said.
“I take that very seriously and I want to say I am so sorry to the people who were affected. I know that I’m in a position of privilege and power and I realized that with that comes responsibility, and I take responsibility for what happens at my show.”
DeGeneres had already apologized to staff following allegations of racism and other toxic and discriminatory actions at the hands of producers of her show, but spoke directly to viewers for the first time on Monday. In both apologies, the host explained that was unaware of the toxicity, adding that producers misrepresented her while speaking on her behalf.
Her on-air apology follows allegations from a former producer, Hedda Muskat, who claimed she had never been around such a “toxic host,” going against DeGeneres’ assertion that she was removed from the behavior of her producers.
“This is The Ellen DeGeneres Show. I am Ellen DeGeneres. My name is there, my name is there, my name is on underwear,” DeGeneres added on Monday. “We have had a lot of conversations over the last few weeks about the show, our workplace, and what we want for the future. We have made the necessary changes and today we are starting a new chapter.”
DeGeneres also explained the background behind her “Be kind” slogan, fighting allegations that claimed she was not as inclusive and generous as she appeared on TV. The host told viewers that the phrase was inspired by the death of Tyler Clementi, a teenager who killed himself in 2010 after he was bullied for being gay.
“I thought the world needed more kindness and it was a reminder that we all needed that, and I think we need it more than ever right now,” she added. “Being known as the ‘be kind’ lady is a tricky position to be in. So let me give you some advice out there if anybody’s thinking of changing their title or giving yourself a nickname, do not go with the ‘be kind’ lady. Don’t do it. The truth is I am that person that you see on TV.”
“Now I am a boss of 270 people, 270 people who help make this show. I want is for every single one of them to be happy and to be proud to work here. This has been a horrible summer for people all around the world. People are losing their jobs. People are losing loved ones to a pandemic,” DeGeneres said.
“People are losing their homes and lives in raging fires that are going on,” she added. “There’s blatant racial injustice all around us. I watched the news and I feel like where, where do we even begin? So my hope is that we can still be a place of happiness and joy. I still want to be the one hour a day that people can go to escape and laugh. I want to continue to help all the people that we help every day. And I’m committed to making this the best season that we have ever had.”
The host then congratulated Stephen “tWitch” Bosson, announcing that he has been promoted to co-executive producer on her talk show.
Watch above, via YouTube.
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