The Ellen DeGeneres Show is being called out by both former and current employees for its toxic work environment.
A new Buzzfeed News Report features interviews with the employees of the daytime talk show hosted by Ellen DeGeneres who spoke anonymously about their experience on set. The interviews give insight into a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the show that clashes with the ethics and values that are shown onscreen.
One black employee explains her experience with racist microaggressions that forced her to walk off the job. Another employee explained they were fired after taking medical leave or bereavement days to attend family funerals.
“That ‘be kind’ bulls— only happens when the cameras are on. It’s all for show,” one former employee said. “I know they give money to people and help them out, but it’s for show.”
One former employee explained her experience with racist comments from a senior producer. The employee explained that the producer said to her once they hired a second black employee, “Oh wow, you both have box braids; I hope we don’t get you confused.” She also said that at a work party, one of the main writers told her, “I’m sorry, I only know the names of the white people who work here.”
“Whenever I brought up an issue to my white male boss, he would bring up some random story about some random Black friend that he had and how they managed to get over stuff,” she said. “He would use his Black friend as some way to say, ‘I understand your struggle.’ But it was all performative bulls—.”
The Ellen DeGeneres Show producers released a joint statement taking responsibility. “Over the course of nearly two decades, 3,000 episodes and employing over 1000 staff members, we have strived to create an open, safe and inclusive work environment,” the statement says.
“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.”