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Ellen DeGeneres has apologised — again — to her talk show staffers for the toxic work environment.
Monday was a busy day behind-the-scenes of the Ellen DeGeneres Show: Three top producers were let go amid the investigation into toxic workplace claims. DJ Stephen “tWitch” Boss, who publicly supported DeGeneres during the drama, was given a promotion to co-executive producer. And the talk show host spoke out, via a video conference, to her show staff, in what is now her second apology to them amid the drama.
A source who was on the call with more the than 220 show staffers told People magazine that DeGeneres said she "wasn't perfect,” adding, "I’m a multi-layered person, and I try to be the best person I can be and I try to learn from my mistakes.”
DeGeneres went on to say, “I’m hearing that some people felt that I wasn’t kind or too short with them, or too impatient. I apologise to anybody if I’ve hurt your feelings in any way.”
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The TV star said they’re “putting in real structures and resources for people so this never happens again and that is extremely important to Ellen. She was emotional seeing everybody. They’re family."
The source described DeGeneres as “emotional,” “emphatic about making it better” and about “making herself more available.”
A second source told People that DeGeneres said she’s “been dying to see them” and “that she couldn’t because of the investigation.” Now that she can speak, she wanted them to know that the new season “is a reset” and “things are changing” and will “better moving forward,” saying she’s “committed to that."
Variety reported that during the call DeGeneres was emotional to the point of tears. She said that reading the disturbing allegations about the toxic show environment was “heartbreaking.” She said that show leaders were not as sensitive to “human beings” as they should have been.
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The outlet also said she responded to the rumours that staffers and guests were told not to talk to her or look her in the eye, calling it “crazy” and “not true.” She admitted to being “introverted” and apologised if that was ever seen as hurtful.
DeGeneres also noted that guests on the show had been alienated by production timetables being switched on short notice — and vowed to stick to the schedule going forward. (Everybody Loves Raymond’s Brad Garrett publicly said that DeGeneres has treated guests “horribly.”)
DeGeneres did not take questions from staffers, but promised the show would “come back strong” in its 18th season debut, which has been pushed back a few days to 14 September. “This will be the best season we’ve ever had,” she said.
The call was to also discuss the findings of the investigation into the show after current and former employees made claims of a culture of racism, intimidation and sexual harassment. As a result, three senior producers — executive producers Ed Glavin and Kevin Leman, and co-executive producer Jonathan Norman —were let go. Three others — Mary Connelly, Andy Lassner and Derek Westervelt — will staying as EPs along with DeGeneres.
It was said that the third party investigation found no evidence of “systemic” racism, according Variety, although more needed to be done in terms of diversity and inclusion. To that end, staffers would be undergoing diversity training. Additionally, show deejay tWitch was promoted.
Last week, tWitch publicly backed DeGeneres during the onslaught of bad press over the show culture. tWitch, who is also featured on Ellen Show spin-off Ellen’s Game of Games, said, “We can’t speak too much legally about it, but I’ll say this, there’s been love. Obviously there’s some things to address, but from my standpoint and from countless others, there’s been love. I’ll just leave it at that until there’s a time where we can address more publicly. There’s been love and there’ll will continue to be love.”
DeGeneres’s apology in the video conference call marks the second time she said sorry to staff amid the drama, which was triggered by an investigative piece by Buzzfeed News in mid-July alleging racism and intimidation on the show, followed by a second report claiming a culture of “rampant sexual misconduct.” In late July, DeGeneres broke her silence in a staff letter, which was leaked to the press, which saw her take “responsibility” for the toxic culture, saying, “my name is on the show.”