A Guide to All the Disturbing Stuff Happening on Set of ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’

Ellen DeGeneres is largely known for being 1) super nice and 2) friends with literally every celeb ever, but this past year has been peppered with reports of the iconic TV host being…well…kinda mean? And on top of that, former staffers of The Ellen DeGeneres Show have come forward with reports of bullying, racism, and sexual harassment from producers on her show, prompting Ellen herself to make a statement—and WarnerMedia to launch an internal investigation. Here’s what you need to know, and please, be forewarned it. is. a. lot.

March 20, 2020

During the early days of quarantine when literally everyone was trapped inside with nothing to do but scroll Twitter, podcast host Kevin T. Porter hopped online and started a thread of people talking about how mean Ellen is. And, my friends, the tea was scorching. Not as scorching as the bowl of hot soup that Ellen allegedly pushed a person’s head into, but!

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April 16, 2020

Variety reports that Ellen’s staff is suuuuuper pissed about how they’re being treated during the coronavirus pandemic, saying that they hadn’t received any communication about the “status of their working hours, pay, or inquiries about their mental and physical health from producers for over a month.” Yikes.

April 20, 2020

Nikkie de Jager of NikkieTutorials tells Dutch publication &C that going on Ellen wasn’t exactly a dream come true:

“Call me naive, but I kind of expected to be welcomed with confetti cannons: ‘Welcome to The Ellen DeGeneres Show!’ But instead, I was greeted by an angry intern who was a bit overworked. I was expecting a Disney show but got Teletubbies after dark.”

She adds, “Every guest at Ellen’s had a private toilet, but I didn’t. I was not allowed to use the nearest toilet because it was reserved for the Jonas Brothers. Why do they get a private toilet? I thought. But in the end, my item had 8 million views afterward and theirs 2 million, ha!”

May 13, 2020

A source tells Us Weekly that “Ellen is at the end of her rope,” and that “She thought this was all just sour grapes from a few haters. But it’s not a passing thing—the hits just keep coming.”

Um, yeah…just wait ’til we get to July.

July 16, 2020

Buzzfeed News publishes a bombshell report after speaking to 10 former and one current employees about the show being rife with bullying, racism, and favoritism.

In the piece, a Black former employee said that a senior-level producer told her and another Black employee, “Oh, wow, you both have box braids—I hope we don’t get you confused.” She also experienced a writer at a party saying, “I’m sorry, I only know the names of the white people who work here.” Meanwhile, another former employee said she was fired after taking a one-month medical leave following a suicide attempt.

Truly no words for how awful this is. In response to the report, producers Ed Glavin, Mary Connelly, and Andy Lassner tell E! News:

“We are truly heartbroken and sorry to learn that even one person in our production family has had a negative experience. It’s not who we are and not who we strive to be and not the mission Ellen has set for us. For the record, the day-to-day responsibility of The Ellen Show is completely on us. We take all of this very seriously and we realize, as many in the world are learning, that we need to do better, are committed to do better, and we will do better.”

July 22, 2020

A source “connected to the talk show’s production” said the staff have “been calling and texting each other about the story. They’re loving that the truth—which has been an open secret for years in the industry—is finally receiving more interest.”

July 27, 2020

Variety reports that The Ellen DeGeneres Show is under internal investigation and that a memo was sent to staff saying a third-party firm would “interview current and former staffers about their experiences on-set.”

July 29, 2020

Former Australian TV executive Neil Breen reveals that he was legit told not to look at Ellen while working with her producers in 2013.

“The producer called us aside and said, ‘Now, Neil, no one is to talk to Ellen. You don’t talk to her, you don’t approach her, you don’t look at her. She’ll come in, she’ll sit down, she’ll talk to Richard, and then Ellen will leave.’”

Neil said he didn’t interact with Ellen herself, and that “I have no idea whether she’s a nice person or not, I wouldn’t have a clue. But I can tell you the people who work with her walked on eggshells the whole time. We’re there to do an interview to promote what she’s doing, but you can’t look at her? Someone get real.”

July 30, 2020

Ellen breaks her silence in a letter acquired by Variety. On the one hand, she takes responsibility because it’s her freakin’ show. On the other, she kinda blames her producers?

“On day one of our show, I told everyone in our first meeting that ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’ would be a place of happiness—no one would ever raise their voice, and everyone would be treated with respect. Obviously, something changed, and I am disappointed to learn that this has not been the case. I could not have the success I’ve had without all of your contributions. My name is on the show and everything we do and I take responsibility for that. Alongside Warner Bros., we immediately began an internal investigation and we are taking steps, together, to correct the issues. As we’ve grown exponentially, I’ve not been able to stay on top of everything and relied on others to do their jobs as they knew I’d want them done. Clearly some didn’t. That will now change and I’m committed to ensuring this does not happen again.”

Later That Night

Buzzfeed News drops yet another bombshell report, this time outlining disturbing instances of alleged sexual misconduct and harassment from producers on the set of Ellen’s show. In the piece, ex-employees accuse exec producer Kevin Leman of soliciting oral sex from a member of staff at a 2013 work party, and say exec producer Ed Glavin had a history of “creepy touching” and “being handsy with women.”

That brings us up to date, but truly yikes to everything happening here.

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