Ellen DeGeneres kicked off the 18th season of her daily talk show by addressing the allegations of a toxic workplace which have surrounded the 62-year old since July.
“As you may have heard this summer, there were allegations of a toxic work environment at our show,” DeGeneres began. “There was an investigation. I learned that things happen 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 realised that with that comes responsibility, and I take responsibility for what happens at my show.”
“The truth is, I am that person that you see on TV,” she continued. “I am also a lot of other things. Sometimes I get sad, I get mad, I get anxious, I get frustrated, I get impatient. And I am working on all of that. I am a work in progress.”
“My intention is to always be the best person I can be, and if I’ve ever let someone down, if I’ve ever hurt their feelings, I am so sorry for that. If that’s ever the case, I’ve let myself down and I’ve hurt myself as well.”
The apology was posted on The Ellen DeGeneres Show’s social media accounts and came after two previous apologies; one by email, which she sent to her staff in late July, and the other during a videoconference made to her employees in August.
“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,” the email stated. ”Obviously, something changed, and I am disappointed to learn that this has not been the case. And for that, I am sorry.”
“As we’ve grown exponentially, I’ve not been able to stay on top of everything and relied on others to do their jobs as they knew I’d want them done. Clearly some didn’t. That will now change and I’m committed to ensuring this does not happen again.”
“As someone who was judged and nearly lost everything for just being who I am,” she wrote. “I truly understand and have deep compassion for those being looked at differently, or treated unfairly, not equal, or — worse — disregarded. To think that any one of you felt that way is awful to me.”
The former actor used her monologue to mention her previous roles in that capacity, saying she often had to play straight women. DeGeneres came out as gay in 1997 and said in her on air apology that she was one of the first television stars to do so publicly.
“So, I’m a pretty good actress, but I don’t think that I’m that good that I could come out here every day for 17 years and fool you,” she said. “This is me. And my intention is to always be the best person I can be. And if I’ve ever let someone down, if I’ve ever hurt their feelings, I am so sorry for that.”
BuzzFeed News reported in July that DeGeneres had led a workplace environment filled with “racism, fear and intimidation” and that some employees had their contracts terminated after taking leave of absence for medical leave or bereavement. One black employee who had previously been at the show said she had racist comments thrown at her from colleagues. There were several allegations of racial insensitivity and bullying on the set, as well as alleged sexual misconduct between executives and low-tiered employees.
On Monday’s show, DeGeneres spoke to an audience of screens that featured virtual participants. The investigation DeGeneres noted was one conducted by Warner Bros. and Telepictures and involved interviews with 36 former staffers. The investigation revealed “some flaws in the show’s daily management”, and Warner Bros. said they were “disappointed that the primary findings of the investigation indicated some deficiencies related to the show’s day-to-day management”.
“We have identified several staffing changes, along with appropriate measures to address the issues that have been raised, and are taking the first steps to implement them.”
A month after the investigations began, Ed Glavin, Jonathan Norman and Kevin Leman were fired from their jobs. Glavin was an executive producer; Norman a co-executive producer; and Leman, the head writer.
“The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” has been running since 2003 and has amassed a global audience. In May last year, DeGeneres signed a contract to extend her show till 2022.