What Ellen DeGeneres’s Staff Really Thinks of Her Apology on the Season 18 Premiere of Her Show
It happened: Ellen DeGeneres finally returned to TV and addressed everything that has gone down with her show. Earlier in 2020, the eponymous program faced allegations of fostering a toxic work environment that allegedly included sexual misconduct, racism, and more. On the season 18 premiere of her show, DeGeneres apologized for the ordeal and assured viewers that changes were made. It left us wondering: How does her staff feel about her apology?
‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’ has been embroiled in controversy for months
Allegations about the show started coming to light in July after comedian Kevin T. Porter shared a tweet asking people to share their worst stories about DeGeneres, whom he described as “one of the meanest people alive.”
From there, BuzzFeed News published several bombshell reports in which current and former staff members claimed they experienced toxicity, intimidation, racism, sexual harassment, and more on the show. The allegations sparked an investigation by Warner Media into the workplace issues, per Today.
Amid the fallout, DeGeneres sent a memo to her staff apologizing for what had happened. “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. Obviously, something changed, and I am disappointed to learn that this has not been the case,” the statement read in part.
DeGeneres herself did not directly address the scandal. But it was reported that she planned to discuss it on the season 18 premiere of her show.
Here’s what Ellen DeGeneres had to say about the allegations against her show
DeGeneres opened the Sept. 21 episode by jumping right into the scandal surrounding her show. She claimed the investigation had revealed things she had no idea about and promised that things would look differently moving forward.
“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. I know that I’m in a position of privilege and power, and I realize that with that comes responsibility and I take responsibility for what happens at my show,” she said in part.
“We have had a lot of conversations over the last few weeks about our show, our workplace, and what we want for the future,” DeGeneres continued. “We have made the necessary changes and today, we are starting a new chapter.”
There are mixed reports regarding the way her staff viewed the apology
While one insider told Entertainment Tonight that staffers applauded DeGeneres after the apology and that it was an “emotional moment” for them, current and former employees told BuzzFeed News they found it “disingenuous and tone-deaf given the severity of their experiences.”
Several of them complained about the way DeGeneres made jokes out of the situation.
“Not only did Ellen turn my trauma, turn our traumas, into a joke, she somehow managed to make this about her,” an old employee told the outlet.
“When you’re talking about people who have accused her leadership of the seriousness of sexual misconduct, I don’t think it’s appropriate to have jokes in the monologue,” said another former employee.
Others wished DeGeneres and Warner Bros. had directly apologized to those that were affected. One former employee said they had hoped someone with Warner Bros. would have said, “something like, ‘We’re so sorry this happened to you,’ not for Ellen to go on air and say, ‘I heard this happened and I’m sorry if it happened to you.’”
“It was like, ‘Tell us all of the most f*cked up things that happened to you for the investigation, and now that we’ve written it all down, see you later,’” the former employee added. “It just feels like there’s no ending to this for people who came forward and said things that happened to them and reopened these wounds and rehashed these memories.”