Ellen DeGeneres apologizes to talk show staff amid workplace investigation

Ellen DeGeneres.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

In a memo sent to staffers on Thursday, Ellen DeGeneres said she was "disappointed" to learn that several former Ellen DeGeneres Show workers complained about their time on set, as she wanted it to be "a place of happiness — no one would ever raise their voice, and everyone would be treated with respect."

Earlier this month, about a dozen ex-employees spoke with BuzzFeed News and detailed their time working on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, with one alleging that she experienced racial abuse and several others saying they were fired for taking medical leave or using bereavement time. They primarily blamed the show's executive producers and senior managers, not DeGeneres, for the "toxic" culture.

In the memo, obtained by People, DeGeneres said she was "sorry" to hear all of this, and is "glad the issues at our show were brought to my attention." She has since learned that "people who work with me and for me are speaking on my behalf and misrepresenting who I am and that has to stop. As someone who was judged and nearly lost everything for just being who I am, I truly understand and have deep compassion for those being looked at differently, or treated unfairly, not equal, or — worse — disregarded."

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An internal investigation was launched earlier this week, and Warner Bros. said in a statement on Thursday it has already found "some deficiencies related to the show's day-to-day management" and "identified several staffing changes, along with appropriate measures to address the issues that have been addressed, and are taking the first steps to implement them."

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Catherine Garcia

Catherine Garcia is night editor for TheWeek.com. Her writing and reporting has appeared in Entertainment Weekly and EW.com, The New York Times, The Book of Jezebel, and other publications. A Southern California native, Catherine is a graduate of the University of Redlands and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.