“I’m in a position of privilege and power and I realised that with that comes responsibility.”
Ellen DeGeneres has publicly addressed the allegations that her daytime talk show had become a toxic environment for her staff members.
In the season 18 premiere of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, which premiered Monday 21 September, the host said in her opening monologue that she “learned things that happened here that never should have happened.”
“I take that very seriously and I want to say I am so sorry to the people who were affected,” she told her viewers.
“I know that I’m in a position of privilege and power and I realised that with that comes responsibility, and I take responsibility for what happens at my show.”
Earlier this year, BuzzFeedNews released an exposé in which one current and 10 former employees said they were subject to a culture of racism, fear and intimidation, with one stating that the host’s mantra to be kind is “bullshit” and “only happens when the cameras are on.”
A Black woman who worked on the series for a year and a half also said she experienced racist comments, actions and “microaggressions”.
After an internal investigation found “deficiencies related to the show’s day-to-day management,” three of the show’s top producers, Ed Glavin, Kevin Leman and Jonathan Norman, were sacked.
In a statement, Warner Bros said the company and Ellen are “all committed to ensuring a workplace based on respect and inclusion,” and are “confident this course of action will lead us to the right way forward for the show.”
“We have had a lot of conversations over the last few weeks about the show, our workplace, and what we want for the future,” Ellen continued. “We have made the necessary changes and today we are starting a new chapter.”
She also touched upon accusations about her character, explaining that “being known as the ‘be kind’ lady is a tricky position to be in,” and insisted that she is the person you see on screen, but “also a lot of other things.”
“Sometimes I get sad, I get mad, I get anxious, I get frustrated, I get impatient,” she said. “I am working on all of that. I am a work in progress.
“I’m especially working on the impatience thing because… and it’s not going well, because it’s not happening fast enough. I will tell you that. This is me and 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.”
You can watch Ellen’s opening monologue below.