Welp, Ellen DeGeneres has finally addressed the “toxic” allegations on her self-titled talk show in the Season 18 premiere.
In case you missed it, a Buzzfeed News report back in July revealed a number of claims that the show had a toxic workplace culture, and that Ellen wasn’t who she portrayed on the show. One current and 10 former staffers spoke to Buzzfeed, with various allegations of being fired for taking medical leave, favouritism and racial microaggressions. As you’d expect, the report kicked off an internal investigation within The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
Following the months of controversy, DeGeneres kicked off Season 18 of the show with a lengthy monologue, in which she addressed the whole ordeal.
“As you may have heard, this summer there were allegations of a toxic work environment at our show and then there was an investigation,” she said. “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 who were affected.”
Although Ellen was never personally accused of any alleged misconduct, she has taken responsibility for what happened. You know, because it’s her name on the wall.
“I know that I am in a position of privilege and power and I realise that with that comes great responsibility and I take responsibility for what happens at my show. This is the Ellen DeGeneres show, I am Ellen DeGeneres,” she said.
“We have made the necessary changes and today, we are starting a new chapter.”
She then went on to address the other major claim that made headlines recently, that she isn’t the “be kind” lady she portrays on the show.
“Here’s how [the ‘be kind’ lady nickname] happened,” DeGeneres said in her monologue. “I started saying ‘be kind to one another’ after a young man named Tyler Clementi took his own life after being bullied for being gay. I thought the world needed more kindness and it was a reminder that we all needed that. And I think we need it more than ever right now.”
But although she clarified that she *is* the ‘be kind’ lady, she also pointed out that she’s a plethora of other things.
“The truth is I am that person that you see on TV,” she said. “I am also a lot of other things. Sometimes I get sad; I get mad; I get anxious; I get frustrated; I get impatient and I am working on all of that. I am a work in progress, and I am especially working on the impatience thing. And it’s not going well because it’s not going fast enough, I’ll tell you that.”
To basically summarise the whole situation, DeGeneres simply said that she’s not that good at acting, and couldn’t fool an audience for 17 years into believing she was a kind, relatable talk show host when she was actually a totally different person.
“I’m a talk show host and you know that. But maybe some of you know that I was an actress. I’ve played a straight woman in movies. So, I’m a pretty good actress,” she said. “But I don’t think I’m that good that I could come out here every day for 17 years and fool you. This is me, and my intention is to always be the best person I can be. And if I’ve ever let someone down, if I’ve ever hurt their feelings, I am so sorry for that. If that’s ever the case, I’ve let myself down and I’ve hurt myself, as well. Because I always try to grow as a person. I look at everything that comes into my life as an opportunity to learn.”
In the immediate aftermath of the allegations, Warner Bros (who run the show) confirmed that executive producers Ed Glavin and Kevin Leman, as well as co-executive producer Jonathan Norman have since left the show. And in the season premiere, Ellen confirmed that Stephen ‘tWitch’ Boss – formerly her DJ – is now a co-executive producer of the show.
After everything that’s happened this year with the show, it’s fair to take her comments with a grain of salt until it’s been long enough that we can actually see evidence of a healthier workplace, but it at least appears like the show is trying to fix the issues behind the scenes.
You can watch the full speech below.