She finishes every show with a reminder to millions around the globe to “be kind to one another” and yet, a group employees on The Ellen DeGeneres Show are claiming the television host is anything but kind.
Eleven staff members – 10 past and one present – have spoken to BuzzFeed News in the US about the “toxic” workplace, one which they claim runs on a culture of “racism, fear and intimidation.”
“That ‘be kind’ bullsh*t only happens when the cameras are on. It’s all for show,” one former employee told the publication. “I know they give money to people and help them out, but it’s for show.”
While the internet has been alight with fodder that DeGeneres herself is “mean,” this report tends to take aim at the senior producers on the show, with some of the employees claiming they were advised by their direct managers “not to speak to DeGeneres if they saw her around the office.”
A black woman who was hired as a senior producer says she was subject to “microaggression” on the regular. She says when she mustered up the courage to speak out against the discrimination in the workplace, her colleagues distanced themselves from her.
“Whenever I brought up an issue to my white male boss, he would bring up some random story about some random Black friend that he had and how they managed to get over stuff,” she said. “He would use his Black friend as some way to say, ‘I understand your struggle.’ But it was all performative bullshit.”
Another employee labeled the set “toxic” after taking three weeks off post a car accident and requesting two days leave for a funeral.
“That’s the definition of a toxic work environment, where they make you feel like you’re going insane and then you’re like, no, everything I was feeling was right,” said the former staffer, whose story was corroborated by five former employees and medical records.
Another employee says they took medical for one month to check into a mental health facility after they attempted suicide. When they returned to work, they were told their position no longer existed.
“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, whose story was corroborated by four other employees and medical records, told BuzzFeed News.
“Some of the producers talk openly in public about addiction and mental health awareness, but they’re the reason there’s a stigma,” they said. “They definitely don’t practice what they preach with the ‘be kind’ mantra.”
All sources asked to remain anonymous for fear they would be blacklisted by the daytime talk show and the fickle entertainment industry.