Ellen Degeneres is finding herself in a similar situation as Rosie O’Donnell in the early 2000s when her talk show ended amid claims of how mean and nasty she was behind the scenes despite being known as the Queen of Nice. The difference is that for Ellen, she’s not the one being nasty. It’s her staff. The problem is that this issue has been festering for some time and with little action from her to remedy it. It’s so bad that Eric Schiffer, Chairman of Reputation Management Consultants has said this could be brand suicide for her.
And speaking of suicide, one of the complaints from the near dozen people who have come forward is that a person took a month off to check into a facility for their mental health after attempting suicide, only to return and be told their position had been filled. The show is now the subject of an internal probe by Warner Media over reports of being a toxic workplace. Their employee relations group and a thvrd party firm are interviewing current and former staff about the environment of what they have to work in.
Back in April, Variety did a piece on discrepancies and a lack of communication on pay and working hours during the coronavirus pandemic. A Warner Bros. spokesperson told Variety at the time, “Our executive producers and Telepictures are committed to taking care of our staff and crew and have made decisions first and foremost with them in mind.”
A black woman who said she was subjected to numerous racist remarks detailed how at a work party she was told “I’m sorry, I only know the names of the white people who work here.” Executive Producers Ed Glavin, Mary Connelly, and Andy Lassner have said they are taking all allegations “very seriously.”
“Over the course of nearly two decades, 3,000 episodes, and employing over 1,000 staff members, we have strived to create an open, safe, and inclusive work environment,” the statement from the executive producers said. “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.”
“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,” the statement said.
No statement has been made yet from Degeneres but we hope that she cares enough about her staff that she will decide to address things.