Is The Ellen DeGeneres Show a toxic work environment? Depends on who you ask! The 63-year-old comedian insists there was no discrimination or harassment on set. But many of her employees beg to differ.
A former Black employee for the show came forward last year to talk about the discrimination she allegedly experienced. “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.”
Apparently, Ellen reached out during the Black Lives Matter movement in June 2020, but the former employee responded with, “it’s too little, too late.“
During the beginning of Covid-19, many employees complained saying they “received no written communication about the status of their working hours, pay, or inquiries about their mental and physical health from producers for over a month”.
“That’s the definition of a toxic work environment, where they make you feel like you’re going insane and then you’re like, no, everything I was feeling was right. It was all leading up to this,” a former employee said, after explaining how they fought with HR over something as basic as medical leave.
Ellen DeGeneres claims she was completely in the dark during all of this. She considers what happened to her show to be a result of cancel culture. “People get picked on but for four months straight for me,” Ellen said. “And then for me to read in the press about a toxic work environment when all I’ve ever heard from every guest that comes on the show is what a happy atmosphere this is, and what a happy place it is.”
Although it is Ellen’s name on the show, she says she did not oversee all 225 employees, nor did she stay on set late enough to truly interact with the crew. “But I do wish someone came up to me and said, ‘Hey, this is something you should know about,'” she admitted.
In addition to blaming cancel culture and poor communication within the workplace, Ellen DeGeneres suggests that her downfall has to do with being a woman.
“My therapist was like, ‘You know, very few people go through such huge public humiliation twice in a lifetime. She was making me aware that I am supposed to experience this for a bigger reason. How can I be an example of strength and perseverance and power if I give up and run away? So it really is one of the reasons I came back. I worked really hard on myself. I have to say if nobody else is saying it, it was really interesting because I am a woman and it did feel very misogynistic.”
She made it a point to say the end of her show has nothing to do with allegations. “When you’re a creative person, you constantly need to be challenged – and as great as this show is, and as fun as it is, it’s just not a challenge anymore,” Ellen said. “If that was why I was quitting, I would’ve not come back this year. I really did think about not coming back because it was devastating.”