Warner Media is looking into complaints of an alleged "toxic work environment" on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" from former and current employees with the aid of a third-party firm and the studios' employee relations group.
According to Variety, the staff of the long-time daytime show received a memo last week from executives of show producer Telepictures and distributor Warner Bros. Television about the said investigation. The memo noted that WBTV-owner Warner Media's employee relations group and a third-party firm is on board the investigation, with the latter set to interview current and former employees about their work experience on the set.
The memo comes after one current and 10 former employees shared their grievances about the work environment on the show with Buzzfeed. They complained about unfair treatment to those who took medical or bereavement leaves. They were reportedly told to just quit or were told they would be fired.
The complaints are generally directed at the executive producers of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" and not to the show host herself. One former staff member said the rumours of "Ellen being mean and everything" is "not the problem."
"The issue is these three executive producers running the show who are in charge of all these people [and] who make the culture and are putting out this feeling of bullying and being mean. They feel that everybody who works at 'The Ellen Show' is lucky to work there: 'So if you have a problem, you should leave because we'll hire someone else because everybody wants to work here,'" the employee said.
A black woman said she experienced "microaggressions" and was "reprimanded" when she asked for a raise. She said the show "blacklisted" you if you are a black person who had something to say.
"We've been feeling this way, but I've been too afraid to say anything because everyone knows what happens when you say something as a black person," the former employee said.
Meanwhile, another advised DeGeneres to be more involved with her staff and not just rely on what her executive producers tell her. She should "go beyond that" because it is her "responsibility" and her name is on the line.
Executive producers for "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," Ed Glavin, Mary Connelly, and Andy Lassner have since responded to the claims and said they take them "very seriously." Meanwhile, a representative for the show has yet to respond to reports about the investigation. Warner Bros. TV declined to comment.