Ellen DeGeneres has just premiered a fresh season of her talk show with an apology and has admitted that “things happened here that never should have happened”. On Monday, The Ellen DeGeneres Show made a return to the screens in US for the first time since allegations surfaced about a toxic work environment on sets.
“I take this very seriously and I want to say I’m so sorry to people it affected,” the host said. She added that the necessary changes have been introduced following an investigation. Three top show producers were dismissed from their jobs on the accounts of bad conduct.
DeGeneres opened the show with her signature deadpan comedic tone, saying to the camera: “If you are watching because you love me, thank you. If you are watching because you don’t love me, welcome.”
With gritting teeth, she said she had enjoyed a “great summer – super terrific”. But soon changed the tone to address the misconduct and sexual harassment claims on the sets that tarnished the reputation of her program.
“I learned that things happened that should never have happened,” said Ellen.
“If I have ever let someone down, if I have ever hurt their feelings, I am sorry for that.”
The talk show host admitted that as a moderator of the her show with all the power and privilege she has with her it was her responsibility to oversee what was happening under her. “We have made the necessary changes and today we are staring a new chapter,” she informed the audiences. Ellen announced that DJ Twitch has been raised to the ranks of co-executive producer. She joked that earning the nickname of “be kind lady” – the sign-off quote of her show – was a tricky position to be in”.
“If you want to give yourself a new nickname or title, don’t go with the ‘be kind lady’. Don’t do it.”
But DeGeneres claimed that opposite to the news and reporting in “the press and social media… the truth is that I am the person that you see on your TV”. She continued: “I am also a lot of other things. Sometimes I am sad, I get mad, I get anxious, I get frustrated, I get impatient and I am working on all of that. I am a work in progress.”
She said she wanted “every single one” of the 270 staffers involved with her program to “be happy and proud to work here”.
Ellen had already issued an apology to staff via email, earlier in July, saying she was “committed to ensuring this does not happen again” and that followed with a further apology through a video meeting with her team in August. A spokesperson for Warner Brothers confirmed the talk show have sacked the executive producers Kevin Leman and Ed Glavin and also fired co-executive producer Jonathan Norman in August. In a story published earlier this year by Buzzfeed News, the employees at the show had alleged the existence of hostile working environment, racism and sexual harassment at the sets. Some said they had been sacked for taking bereavement days. Since its debut in 2003, Ellen DeGeneres show has bagged over 60 Emmy Awards.