The Kelly Clarkson Show responds to claims of toxic work environment

NBC Universal has responded to claims in a new report that The Kelly Clarkson Show's producers have created a toxic work environment.

Eleven employees, one current and 10 former, say they are not only overworked and underpaid, but that they are subjected to bullying and verbal abuse in a new Rolling Stone story published Friday. They also allege that despite filing multiple reports to the show's human resources department, nothing has changed. Instead, they allege that they were penalized for their complaints, claiming that executive producers yelled at them and left them out of meetings.

A network spokesperson has provided a statement to EW.

"We are committed to a safe and respectful work environment and take workplace complaints very seriously, and to insinuate otherwise is untrue," the statement reads. "When issues are reported they are promptly reviewed, investigated, and acted upon as appropriate. The Kelly Clarkson Show strives to build a safe, respectful, and equitable workplace that nurtures a culture of inclusivity and creativity."

The Kelly Clarkson Show
The Kelly Clarkson Show

Weiss Eubanks/NBCUniversal via Getty Kelly Clarkson hosting 'The Kelly Clarkson Show'

The sources interviewed for the Rolling Stone report clarified that Kelly Clarkson herself has not engaged in toxic behavior but, rather, executive producer Alex Duda, known for her work on Steve Harvey and The Tyra Banks Show.

"NBC is protecting the show because it's their new moneymaker," said one ex-employee in the piece. "But Kelly has no clue how unhappy her staff is."

"Kelly is fantastic," added another employee. "She is a person who never treats anyone with anything but dignity and is incredibly appreciative… I'd be floored if she knew the staff wasn't getting paid for two weeks of Christmas hiatus. The Kelly that I interacted with and that everyone knows would probably be pretty aghast to learn that."

Representatives for Clarkson did not immediately respond to EW's request for comment.

The Kelly Clarkson Show
The Kelly Clarkson Show

Weiss Eubanks/NBCUniversal via Getty Kelly Clarkson on 'The Kelly Clarkson Show'

Aside from Duda, employees pointed to unprofessional behavior from various other higher-ups at the show. One described a scenario in which an employee quit after a producer "yelled and cursed at them multiple times on stage." Another recalled a production manager throwing a stapler across the room and speaking "in a way that you're not supposed to in a professional environment — cursing, raising his voice, and throwing a huge temper tantrum."

"Kelly [Clarkson] uses a sign-off: 'Make it a great day and if it's not great, change it,'" a current employee said. "But it's hard to exist and work in a machine that's pumping out this happy, bubbly, positive messaging and then you have people here who are just treated badly."

Clarkson's show fills the daytime slot once occupied by The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Before that long-running series ended, allegations surfaced claiming that DeGeneres and her producers fostered a toxic workplace environment marred by racism, intimidation, and fear. Though the accusers cited DeGeneres herself, the host claimed she was unaware of the issues and eventually released a statement to her staff promising changes behind the scenes of the series.

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