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Former employees of Ellen DeGeneres’s show allege toxic work environment, racism

Several employees from Ellen DeGeneres’s award-winning show “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” lashed out in a new report, alleging that they experienced racism and a long-term toxic work environment. 

Nearly a dozen current and former anonymous employees told BuzzFeed News that employees were fired after taking medical leave or personal days to attend funerals of family members.

A Black woman who previously worked at the show for a year and a half alleged that she experienced racist comments and actions from fellow employees. She alleged 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.”

The woman also alleged that a writer on the show told her, in front of other co-workers, “I’m sorry, I only know the names of the white people who work here.” She claimed that she asked for a raise after she had worked at the show for a year and learned that another recent hire made double her pay, BuzzFeed News reported. 

The employee was never granted the raise.

She added that said she did not return to her job at the show after she was called into a meeting with executive producer Ed Glavin where she was reprimanded for asking for a raise, suggesting employees on the show receive diversity and inclusion training, and more.

“I feel like I’m not alone in this,” the employee told BuzzFeed News. “We all feel this. We’ve been feeling this way, but I’ve been too afraid to say anything because everyone knows what happens when you say something as a Black person. You’re blacklisted.”

Another employee also claimed that they took medical leave from their job on the show for one month following a suicide attempt. However, when they returned to work, the person claims that their position was eliminated.

“You’d think that if someone just tried to kill themselves, you don’t want to add any more stress to their lives,” the employee told BuzzFeed News. 

Another employee said that they were reprimanded by managers for creating a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for medical costs that were not covered by their health insurance. The employee said managers worried it would hurt DeGeneres’s image.

“We all have a kind of ‘this isn’t normal’ feeling about how people get treated there,” one former employee claimed, BuzzFeed News reported. “And there’s this ushering out the door. Or your contract isn’t renewed the minute you ruffle anyone’s feathers. Or you don’t show that you’re extremely grateful and appreciative to work there.” 

“That ‘be kind’ bullshit only happens when the cameras are on. It’s all for show,” one former employee told BuzzFeed News, referencing the host’s signature sign off. “I know they give money to people and help them out, but it’s for show.”

Some employees reported being told not to speak to DeGeneres if they saw her in the show’s office, in addition to a slate of other accusations. 

Although the employees placed blame on the show’s day-to-day managers, one former employee called for the beloved host to “take more responsibility” for the environment at the show. 

“If she wants to have her own show and have her name on the show title, she needs to be more involved to see what’s going on,” one former employee said. “I think the executive producers surround her and tell her, ‘Things are going great, everybody’s happy,’ and she just believes that, but it’s her responsibility to go beyond that.”

Glavin and fellow executive producers Mary Connelly and Andy Lassner said they take the stories of the employees “very seriously” in a statement to BuzzFeed 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,” the producers said. 

The Hill has reached out to “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” for comment.

Tags BuzzFeed News Ellen DeGeneres Racism

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