In a video call with Ellen staff on Monday, Ellen DeGeneres reportedly announced the dismissal of three producers previously accused of misconduct, elevated her sidekick DJ tWitch to co-executive producer, and apologized for “what this has become,” i.e. an allegedly toxic TV workplace filled with “racism, fear and intimidation.” The daytime TV host also echoed a sentiment she expressed in her previous letter to her staff: that issues with Ellen were due to her negligence in monitoring her workplace, rather than her own behavior. “I’m so so sorry for what this has become,” DeGeneres told her staff per The Hollywood Reporter. “I’ve left this to be a well-oiled machine, and I realize it’s not a machine … it’s human beings.”
On July 30, BuzzFeed News reported on “the harassment, sexual misconduct, and assault from top producers on the show” described by 36 former Ellen employees. Today, DeGeneres has fired executive producers Ed Glavin, Kevin Leman, and co-executive producer Jonathan Norman. Leman and Norman previously denied the allegations against them, including groping employees, to BuzzFeed.
In the same call, DeGeneres announced that her DJ, Stephen “DJ tWitch” Boss has been made co-executive producer of the show, reports Variety. Boss told Us Weekly last week, “Obviously, there’s some things to address, but from my standpoint and from countless others, there’s been love. I’ll just leave it at that until there’s a time where we can address more publicly. There’s been love, and will continue to be love.”
Meanwhile, Ellen executive producers Mary Connelly, Andy Lassner, and Derek Westervelt will remain with the show. On July 27, Warner Bros. launched an investigation into the many different allegations of workplace hostility and disfunction leveled at Ellen. According to Variety, in another part of the Monday call, Connelly and Lassner addressed allegations of workplace racism at Ellen, and claimed the probe did not find a pattern of systemic racism. They did, however, acknowledge that “more needed to be done in terms of diversity and inclusion” at the program.
As for her own allegedly toxic behavior, DeGeneres reportedly apologized in a vague fashion for hurt feelings she may have caused. Per a note to staff obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, the TV host said, “I apologize for anyone who’s feelings I’ve hurt. I’m not perfect. I’m multi-layered and I learn from my mistakes. I care about each and every one of you. I’m grateful for for each and everyone of you.” As for the specific accusation that staffers were told not to look the host in the eye, DeGeneres claimed it is “crazy” and “not true.”
In a previous letter to staff, reported by THR late last month, DeGeneres also seemed to pin her show’s problems on Ellen executives, rather than her own actions. “I’m also learning that people who work with me and for me are speaking on my behalf and misrepresenting who I am and that has to stop,” she wrote. “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.”