‘Ellen DeGeneres Show’ Under Investigation for Alleged Racism and Intimidation
WarnerMedia is conducting an investigation of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” amid reports that former and current employees have been subjected to racism and intimidation.
Sources told Variety that a memo from show producer Telepictures and distributor Warner Bros. Television said they are working with a WBTV-owner WarnerMedia’s employee relations group and a third party firm to investigate the claims.
One current and 10 former employees told BuzzFeed News about the instances:
They said they were fired after taking medical leave or bereavement days to attend family funerals. One employee, who claims she was fed up with comments about her race, essentially walked off the job. Others said they were also instructed by their direct managers to not speak to DeGeneres if they saw her around the office.
Most of the former employees blamed executive producers and other senior managers for the day-to-day toxicity, but one former employee said that, ultimately, it’s Ellen’s name on the show and “she really needs to take more responsibility” for the workplace environment.
Variety reported in April how union employees on the show were replaced by non-union workers when DeGeneres started doing her show from home (video below) because of the coronavirus pandemic:
The core stage crew for “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” consisting of more than 30 employees, received no written communication about the status of their working hours, pay, or inquiries about their mental and physical health from producers for over a month, said two sources, both of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Higher-ups in production would occasionally answer phone calls but reveal little, added one of the sources. The crew was further incensed by the show’s recent hire of an outside, non-union tech company to help DeGeneres tape remotely from her home in California.
A rep for “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” did not immediately respond to Variety‘s request for comment.