22 September 2020

Ellen DeGeneres opens new season of her show with apology - and jokes - over toxic environment saga

US talk show host Ellen DeGeneres opened the new series of her daytime show with a humbling - and occasionally awkward - monologue in which she apologised for ‘things that should never have happened’.

DeGeneres said following an investigation into claims of a toxic working environnment, triggered by employee allegations, that ‘necessary changes’ had been made and the start of the new series was the beginning of a 'new chapter’.

She said: “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 very seriously, and I want to say I’m so sorry to the people who were affected. I know that I’m in a position of privilege and power, and I realise that with that comes responsibility, and I take responsibility for what happens at my show.”

And she added she and her production team had had ‘a lot of conversations over the last few weeks about the show, our workplace and what we want for the future. We have made the necessary changes and today we are starting a new chapter’.

She also spoke about allegations that she was not the ‘be kind’ lady she portrayed on TV. 

DeGeneres acquired the nickname after telling people to ‘be more kind to each other’ following the suicide of Tyler Clementi in 2010, someone who took his own life after being bullied for being gay.

She said: "Being known as the ‘be kind’ lady is a tricky position to be in … the truth is, I am that person you see on TV but I’m also a lot of things … I’m a work-in-progress.

“My intention is to always be the best person I can be, and if I’ve ever let someone down, if I’ve ever hurt their feelings, I am so sorry for that. If that’s ever the case, I’ve let myself down and I’ve hurt myself as well.”

She also said with everything happening this year, the pandemic, wildfires and racial injustice, that she still wants the show to be a place of ‘happiness and joy’ and to be somewhere people can go to ‘escape and laugh’.

There were jokes, some a little awkward but, as she pointed out, making people laugh was part of who she is.

Three executive producers left the show last month following an investigation by Warner Bros who said they were ‘disappointed that the primary findings of the investigation indicated some deficiencies related to the show’s day-to-day management’.

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