21 Jul “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” Hosts A Toxic Work Environment
Ellen DeGeneres built her brand on the motto of being kind. She has lavish giveaways and performs acts of charity. You would think that she would be the same off-camera. But, according to former and current employees, that is not the case. These employees claim that they faced racism, fear, and intimidation.
Buzzfeed interviewed 10 former employees and 1 current employee on the matter. Each person asked to remain anonymous. They were afraid of retribution.
What People Had To Say
Former employees claimed that the show fired them after taking medical leave. Others said they took bereavement days and received the pink slip. One employee said she couldn’t stand the comments about her race and walked out. Definitely not painting a “kind environment” picture.
One of the former employees, a Black woman, reported racist comments and actions she experienced. When hired, a senior-level producer told her and another 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.” Other coworkers “awkwardly laughed it off” instead of coming to her defense.
Another former employee said they were fired after an unexpectedly difficult year that required them to take time away from the job on three occasions. One was for medical leave after they were in a car accident. Another, they worked remotely for two days to attend a family member’s funeral. Lastly, they took three days off to travel for another family member’s funeral. Each request was a battle with supervisors and HR.
In March, Kevin T. Porter posted a Twitter thread. He asked users to share their own stories about working with Ellen. The tweet has more than 2,600 replies.
In April, Variety reported that employees became “distressed and outraged”. Apparently, top-level producers didn’t communicate details about their jobs and pay at the beginning of the COVID pandemic.
There are so many more horror stories about mistreatment. These reports definitely don’t match up with the kind narrative Ellen spins. However, there have been some who have brushed off the toxicity by saying that this is common in the production world. But, just because it is commonplace, doesn’t mean it’s right.
It is disheartening to hear that someone who has benefited from preaching kindness doesn’t actually practice the same actions.