Amid much talk, Ellen DeGeneres kicked off the new season of her popular television talk show with a brand new episode. She began by apologising to staff following reports of a toxic work environment on her set made rounds. She also said changes had been made to start “a new chapter.”
Following reports of bullying, racism and sexual misconduct, three top producers of The Ellen DeGeneres Show made their way off the show, producer Warner Bros said in August following an internal investigation into the allegations.
“I learned that things happen here that never should have happened,” DeGeneres, 62, said in the opening monologue for the premiere of her show’s 18th season. “I take that very seriously and I want to say I am so sorry to the people who were affected.” She asserted that thorough changes had been made ahead of the new season opening. “We have made the necessary changes and today we are starting a new chapter,” she added.
The show has always been synonymous with spreading love, kindness, happiness and positive vibes, however, reports that surfaced about the turmoil employees faced backstage truly undermined the show’s public message. Reports of a hostile workplace have included criticism that DeGeneres is mean-spirited. As reports surfaced and made their way on social media, a social media campaign was launched which called for her replacement. There was also much support for the comedian from celebrities including the likes of Katy Perry, Kevin Hart, Alec Baldwin and Ashton Kutcher.
DeGeneres, who is gay, joked that she was a good actress because she has played straight women. “But I don’t think that I’m that good that I could come out here every day for 17 years and fool you,” she said of her reputation for kindness. “I am that person that you see on TV, I am also a lot of other things,” she said. She went on to add that, “Sometimes I get sad, I get mad, I get anxious, I get frustrated, I get impatient. And I am working on all of that. I am a work in progress.”