Executive producers of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” reportedly had no choice but to address allegations of its toxic workplace environment following Fox News’ published interview with a bodyguard who documented his unsavory experience with the host.
One employee still working for the production company behind DeGeneres’ talk show claimed to Buzzfeed News that Thomas Majercak’s exclusive interview with Fox News left execs scrambling to combat the accusations head-on after weeks of remaining silent.
“A current employee told BuzzFeed News that on May 1, the same day the story about the former bodyguard was published, executive producers took the rare move of holding an all-staff meeting over Zoom to address the negative stories and low morale,” the report said.
Ten additional former employees of the long-running show spoke on anonymity to the outlet with additional nightmarish claims about what it’s like working for DeGeneres and top producers. Many backed up claims made by Majercak, who told us that he experienced DeGeneres’ “cold” and “demeaning” behavior while protecting her at the 2014 Oscars ceremony.
“Ellen is the one person that I’ve been assigned to — and I’ve been assigned to quite a few celebrities — that has never taken the time to say hi to me,” Majercak claimed to Fox News at the time.
The ex-employees shared harrowing details of their day-to-day experiences working at “Ellen,” which included claims of racist remarks and directives from producers to not speak to DeGeneres should she be roaming the office off-air.
One former employee lambasted the show for using its positive content and contributable donations to guests as a way of masking the negative behavior taking place off-camera.
“I think it is a lot of smoke and mirrors when it comes to the show’s brand,” a former employee told the outlet. “They pull on people’s heartstrings; they do know that’s going to get likes and what people are going to go for, which is a positive message. But that’s not always reality.”
Another employee said the “‘be kind’ bulls–t” occurs “only” when cameras are rolling.
“It’s all for show,” added the ex-staffer.
A Black woman who used to work on the show also claimed to Buzzfeed that she was the victim of racist comments. The woman claimed that a senior-level producer commented on her and another Black employee’s “box braids.”
“I hope we don’t get you confused,” the producer allegedly told the employees.
The same staffer claimed to have once been told by one of the show’s main writers that they “only know the names of the White people who work here.”
The former Black employee said she received an apology from a manager who had reached out to her amid recent Black Lives Matter protests. The employee felt the apology came “too late,” the report said.
Others alleged that they were axed from their jobs for taking bereavement days or medical leave, with one former employee claiming they took one month off to receive mental support for a suicide attempt. That employee returned to the office just to be told their position had been eliminated, the report said.
A majority of the former crew members stressed that it was mostly the “executive producers and other senior managers” who are responsible for the harmful behavior. But one former staffer believes the responsibility should ultimately fall on the host.
“She really needs to take more responsibility” for the environment, the employee said.
Fox News’ multiple requests to DeGeneres’ production team went unanswered back in May when reaching out for comment about Majercak’s claims. Executive producers Ed Glavin, Mary Connelly, and Andy Lassner, however, did provide a comment for Buzzfeed’s expose.
“Over the course of nearly two decades, 3,000 episodes, and employing over 1000 staff members, we have strived to create an open, safe, and inclusive work environment,” they said. “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,” the show executives said.
“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,” the statement concluded.
Back in April, Variety interviewed staff members on anonymity who claimed the show failed to communicate the status of their jobs and pay amid the coronavirus pandemic. Warner Bros. Television, the distributor of the show, claimed the crew was being paid at reduced hours.
Meanwhile, a beauty influencer who appeared on her talk show in January claimed DeGeneres was particularly “cold” and gave preferential treatment to A-list guests.
Reps for the show and DeGeneres did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.