Ellen DeGeneres starts Season 18 apologizing for behind-the-scenes toxic work environment

Ellen DeGeneres / Photo Credit Alan Light

Season 18 of comedian Ellen DeGeneres’ show “Ellen” premiered on ABC yesterday, September 21, 2020 with Episode 1. DeGeneres appeared in the studio as opposed to in her home where she did the show from last season because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Yesterday’s show was done with a “virtual” audience, whereas normally human-filled seats were replaced with video screens of fans.

In January 2020 there were rumblings that things were not at all what they seem on “Ellen.” While things were happy and go lucky on set, behind-the-scenes rumors of a toxic work environment were building. Then in March 2020, more workers on the show and some actors confirmed the rumors. Throughout the summer, charges of racism, discrimination, and a toxic work environment continued. Some staffers have also said they advised guests to overly compliment Ellen because of her fragile nature. Perhaps we should have taken more seriously Ellen’s 2009 tweet, “I made one of my employees cry like a baby on today’s show. Honestly, it felt good.”

Ellen has been saying this past summer until yesterday’s airing of her show that it surprised her to learn of the allegations, and many speculate that she knew and did nothing about it.

Opening of Ellen Season 18, Episode 1. Aired September 21, 2020

The distributor of the show, Warner Bros., completed an internal investigation and ultimately fired executive producers Ed Glavin and Kevin Leman, and co-executive producer Jonathan Norman. Although Glavin has not spoken publicly about the charges, both Leman and Norman have emphatically denied the charges.

Ellen stated during yesterday’s show that she is “in a position of privilege and power and I realize with that comes responsibility and I take responsibility for what happens at my show.” She continued, “We have made the necessary changes and today we are starting a new chapter.” During the show Ellen explained that she is a human being and is not always the “Be kind lady.” She noted that sometimes she gets mad, angry, impatient, sad, etc.

Ellen is reportedly worth almost $400 million and makes over $6 million per month; so her statement of privilege is accurate, as would her income inequality over the average American. While Ellen is properly financially rewarded for her success, her comments with fellow multi-millionaire are a bit much. Especially when the two continue to dispel the myth that America’s middle class is disappearing as if it’s a bad thing. The middle class is slowly reducing as people in that category are experiencing higher incomes, not because they are getting poorer.

Ellen Sits Down with Bernie Sanders October 15, 2015



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