As productions in Hollywood slowly start up again, it seems that in addition to Ellen DeGeneres apologizing to her staff for the alleged misconduct and toxic environment behind the scenes of her talk show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show producers told the staff "don't be afraid" to speak up as they return to work. During Monday's virtual town hall meeting, senior producers Mary Connelly and Andy Lassner reportedly addressed the staff and assured them that they can come forward with any issues relating to their work environment or the pandemic, as reported by Variety. Bustle reached out to Warner Bros. for comment on the report.
DeGeneres reportedly apologized to the staff during the meeting, even becoming tearful and addressing rumors that the staff shouldn't look her in the eye, calling them "crazy" and "untrue." She and producers also announced a number of changes behind the scenes in hopes of fostering a positive work environment. First and foremost, producers Ed Glavin, Jonathan Norman and Kevin Leman, who were accused of sexual misconduct and harassment in a BuzzFeed news report, were all let go. (Leman and Norman both denied allegations of harassment.)
Additionally, Variety reported that the staff will be getting several new perks to boost morale. Staffers will now each receive five paid days off to use as they wish, receive paid time for doctor appointments, and have birthdays off. WarnerMedia has also hired an independent HR person to preserve the anonymity of anyone who comes forward with complaints.
While producers told the staff that WarnerMedia's internal investigation didn't find evidence of systemic racism behind the scenes, they are taking steps to improve diversity, too. In addition to promoting DJ Stephen "tWitch" Boss to co-executive producer, the host promised that every staffer, including herself, will take part in workshops devoted to diversity and inclusion. Ultimately, having the host address the staff personally has been the most reassuring measure taken by the show so far, according to an inside source who spoke to Variety. "It was important to know what and how much she knew," they said. "Because many of us really believe in her."
DeGeneres is reportedly dedicated to being more hands on with her show to avoid incidents in the future. "I care about each and every one of you," she said, according to The Hollywood Reporter. "I feel like I've kind of let the ball drop a bit because I’m focused on the show, I go in and I do the show, and I’ve just let everybody to do their jobs — to run different departments. And it just became a well-oiled machine, and I think that is the problem. It’s not a machine. This is people. These are human beings that are working hard every single day to put this together. This show would not be what it is without all of you."