By Lexi Meola
Elm Staff Writer
Ellen DeGeneres, the face of her famed “be kind” mantra, has been accused by current and former employees of cultivating a toxic workplace at The Ellen Show.
Employee testimonies were first reported in an investigative piece by Buzzfeed in mid-July. Twitter and other social media platforms exploded when the story broke.
While many support the employees demanding serious changes, numerous A-list celebrities have spoken out in support of DeGeneres, including Katy Perry, Kevin Hart, Ashton Kutcher and DeGeneres’ wife, Portia de Rossi. Their supportive posts have used the hashtag #IStandWithEllen.
These celebrities are missing the point. Would DeGeneres or her executive producers ever be rude, toxic, or harassing to any A-list celebrity? Of course not. But it would be easy for them to behave this way to employees without worrying about being held accountable.
This time it is not all about celebrities. It is about the employees who suffered at the irresponsible hands of Ellen DeGeneres.
According to current employees, DeGeneres had a virtual staff meeting earlier this week to announce the changes in staff, namely that executive producers Ed Glavin and Kevin Leman, and co-executive producer Jonathan Norman will be “parting ways” with the show amid sexual misconduct allegations.
DeGeneres also announced that Stephen Laurel Boss, otherwise known as tWitch, DeGeneres’s on-show DJ, has now been made an executive producer on the show.
Positive changes to healthcare and additional perks, such as extra paid vacation days and birthdays off, were also announced.
To her credit, DeGeneres took the time to apologize to her staff.
In a statement released by various staff members she said, “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. Obviously, something changed, and I am disappointed to learn that this has not been the case. And for that, I am sorry.” She seems to want genuine change, to rid her show, and her image, of toxicity. However, that is easier said than done.
DeGeneres has lost the trust of her employees and her viewers. Even though most of the internal problems, such as the allegations of sexual misconduct, were not explicitly done by Degeneres, it is her name at the front of the ship. She is responsible for the actions of her employees and executive producers. It is her obligation to create a safe, communicative space on her show. If DeGeneres is not willing to make serious changes within herself by checking her privilege, then she should step down and allow someone who is willing to make those changes take charge.