Over the past two decades, Ellen DeGeneres has gained worldwide fame, amassed millions of loyal fans and just as many dollars in the bank. However, Ellen’s reputation has gone from bad to worse over the past year, and now her ex-employees are speaking out about the show’s toxic work culture.
In an interview with BuzzFeed News, one of DeGeneres’ former employees said, “That ‘be kind’ bullshit only happens when the cameras are on. It’s all for show.”
“If she wants to have her own show and have her name on the show title, she needs to be more involved to see what’s going on,” another former employee said. “I think the executive producers surround her and tell her, ‘Things are going great, everybody’s happy,’ and she just believes that, but it’s her responsibility to go beyond that.” Hear all about the Ellen DeGeneres controversy below:
Behind the scenes, employees said they were fired after taking medical or bereavement leave, instructed not to speak directly to DeGeneres and reprimanded for speaking up about problematic content.
Sadly, it’s not just the picture perfect facade of The Ellen DeGeneres Show that has impacted former employees. A Black woman who used to work on the show told BuzzFeed News she experienced “racist comments, actions, and ‘microaggressions’” during her time there.
“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 bullshit.”
Another employee said that when they returned from a one-month stay in a mental health facility following a suicide attempt, their position had been eliminated. “You’d think that if someone just tried to kill themselves, you don’t want to add any more stress to their lives,” they said.
“They definitely don’t practice what they preach with the ‘be kind’ mantra,” they added.
“People focus on rumors about how Ellen is mean and everything like that, but that’s not the problem. The issue is these three executive producers running the show who are in charge of all these people [and] who make the culture and are putting out this feeling of bullying and being mean,” another former employee told BuzzFeed News.
“They feel that everybody who works at The Ellen Show is lucky to work there — ‘So if you have a problem, you should leave because we’ll hire someone else because everybody wants to work here,’” they added.
According to BuzzFeed News, the one current and ten former employees they spoke to all asked to remain anonymous “fearing retribution” from the show and entertainment industry at large.
We can only hope that more and more employees feel as though they can now speak up about the work culture at The Ellen DeGeneres show, responsibility will be taken and positive changes will occur.
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