In the seven-minute opener, DeGeneres apologized “to the people that were affected” and said she is “taking responsibility for what happens at my show.”
“As you may have heard, this summer there were allegations of a toxic work environment at our show and then there was an investigation. I learned that things happened here that never should have happened. I take that every seriously and I want to say I am so sorry to the people that were affected. I know that I am in a position of privilege and power and with that comes responsibility and I take responsibility for what happens at my show,” DeGeneres said.
This was the first time that DeGeneres had publicly addressed the reports which emerged from a mid-July BuzzFeed News investigation that surfaced allegations of racist behavior and intimidation on the show. In April, Variety reported on the outrage among the show’s crew members over pay reduction, a lack of communication and poor treatment by producers after the pandemic shut down production; a non-union tech company was hired to tape the show remotely from DeGeneres’ California home.
An investigation into the show was launched by WarnerMedia, which resulted in the removal of several top producers.
DeGeneres said “we have made the necessary changes” later in the monologue and promised “a new chapter” of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”
“We have had a lot of conversations over the last few weeks about the show, the workplace and what we want for the future. We have made the necessary changes and today we are starting a new chapter,” she said, before leading the virtual audience in front of her in a round of applause.
DeGeneres had previously addressed the alleged toxic work environment in a videoconference call with her staff, during which several sources said she described reading the disturbing allegations about the atmosphere on the show as “heartbreaking.”
The changes DeGeneres referred to involved ousting executive producers Ed Glavin and Kevin Leman, and co-EP Jonathan Norman, as well as upping the show’s resident DJ, Stephen “tWitch” Boss, to co-executive producer.
DeGeneres also discussed “articles in the press and on social media that said that I am not who I appeared to be on TV,” that accused her of not practicing the “be kind” motto that she preaches. The host admitted that “being known as the ‘be kind’ lady is a tricky position to be in.”
“Here’s how that happened: I started saying, ‘be kind to one another’ after a young man named Tyler Clementi took his own life after being bullied for being gay,” DeGeneres explained. “I thought the world needed more kindness and it was a reminder that we all needed that, and I think we need it more than ever right now.”
“Being known as the ‘be kind’ lady is a tricky position to be in,” she continued. “So let me give you some advice out there if anybody’s thinking of changing their title or giving yourself a nickname, do not go with the ‘be kind’ lady. Don’t do it. The truth is I am that person that you see on TV.”