Ellen DeGeneres publicly addresses 'toxic work environment' as show returns

Watch: Ellen DeGeneres apologises following the 'toxic work environment' claims

It was the scandal no one expected. Now Ellen DeGeneres is breaking her silence – and taking responsibility for the “toxic work environment” on her chatshow.

The presenter confronted the allegations on The Ellen DeGeneres Show’s Season 18 premiere, which aired on Monday in the US.

DeGeneres started as she meant to go on, with a serious and sincere opener to camera that was peppered with moments of gentle humour.

Ellen DeGeneres attends the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 05, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
Ellen DeGeneres at the Golden Globe Awards in January in Beverly Hills, California. (Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

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“I’m so happy to be back in the studio,” she said.

“There are a lot of things I want to talk about. I’ve been looking forward to addressing it all directly and unfortunately talking directly to people has been illegal for six months.”

She continued: “As you may have heard, this summer there were allegations of a toxic work environment at our show and then there was an investigation.

“I learned that things happened here that never should have happened. I take that very seriously and I want to say I am so sorry to the people that were affected.”

DeGeneres went on to address how being in “a position of privilege and power” meant she had to “take responsibility for what happens at my show”.

She said gravely: “This is The Ellen DeGeneres Show, I am Ellen DeGeneres.”

Read more: Ellen DeGeneres apologises to staff amid toxic workplace allegations

She then talked about changes that needed to be made, so that the show could start a new chapter. One of those changes was the promotion of DJ tWitch to co-executive producer. He has been a guest DJ on the show since 2014.

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She also addressed how she had become known as the “Be Kind lady” – a tag that some ex-employees had hit out at when the allegations first surfaced.

“There were also articles in the press... that said I am not who I appear to be on TV,” she said.

“The truth is, I am that person you see on TV, but I’m also a lot of other things. Sometimes I get sad, I get mad, and I get anxious, I get impatient and I’m working on all of that. I am a work in progress.”

Ellen DeGeneres speaks onstage during the 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards at STAPLES Center on January 26, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for The Recording Academy )
Ellen DeGeneres at the 2020 Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, California. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images for The Recording Academy )

She ended her speech with laughter, saying: “I’ve played a straight woman in movies, so I’m a pretty good actress. But I don’t think I’m that good that I could come out here for 17 years and fool you.

“This is me. And my intention is to always be the best person I can be.”