In recent weeks, current and former Ellen DeGeneres show employees have made a cascade of accusations, saying that it is behind the scenes of the popular afternoon talk show. The latest reports involve a large group of employees who have told Buzzfeed that they are exposed to an environment where sexual misconduct is "common".
These new allegations focus mainly on executive producer and chief author Kevin Leman and executive producer Ed Glavin. Leman is accused of groping, kissing, touching, asking an employee "to give him a handjob or oral sex in a bathroom", and often making sexually inappropriate comments and jokes in front of employees.
According to staff who spoke to BuzzFeed, Glavin is said to have a reputation for being handy with women, including inappropriate touching, especially while women are working in the show's control room.
A former employee described the show as a "culture of fear" that prevented women from complaining about his behavior. Glavin is said to have "led with intimidation," which employees said included shouting and flipping office furniture when he was upset.
The complaints come from people who have worked on Ellen's show at all levels, from production assistants to executives who all confirmed the allegations. Buzzfeed reports 36 people who confirmed reports of Leman misconduct and 47 people who spoke about Glavin. Another allegation of misconduct was made by an employee against a third executive producer on the show, Jonathan Norman.
While Glavin did not respond to Buzzfeed's requests for comments, Variety reports that he is expected to leave the show. Norman and Leman both deny the allegations.
"I have always tried to treat all employees with kindness, inclusiveness and respect," Leman told the website. "As far as I know, I have never received a single HR or interpersonal complaint about myself throughout my time on the show, and I am incredibly devastated that this kind of malicious and misleading article could be published."
The staff allege that they lacked confidential options to file HR complaints, and that Warner Bros., the show's production company, did not fully follow up complaints that could jeopardize their profitable day juggernaut when problems were addressed.
Warner Bros. confirmed to Buzzfeed that an internal investigation was ongoing on the Ellen DeGeneres show, but declined to comment on the allegations of sexual misconduct.
“The Ellen DeGeneres show is and has always been a place that gives the world a positive attitude. And although not all of the claims have been confirmed, we are disappointed that the primary results of the investigation indicated some shortcomings in the daily management of the show, ”Warner Bros. wrote in a statement to Buzzfeed. "We have identified various changes in personnel and suitable measures to remedy the problems raised and are taking the first steps to implement them."
It is unclear to what extent DeGeneres would have personally noticed the alleged behavior of the producers. Some claim that active efforts have been made to hide much of the backstage reality from the show host. others say that if she was unaware of the alleged behavior, her ignorance was deliberate.
Degeneres sent a letter to employees on Thursday apologizing for any wrongdoing. "Everyone who knows me knows that it is the opposite of what I believe and what I hoped for our show," the letter read. "My name is on the show and everything we do and I take responsibility for it."
The letter further claimed that DeGeneres had become aware that "people who work with and for me speak on my behalf and misrepresent who I am and that must stop."
A number of alarms have been raised regarding the Ellen DeGeneres show in recent months. These allegations of misconduct follow employees' criticism of how management dealt with relocating production to accommodate the pandemic, suddenly leaving many unemployed, and complaints about racism and a toxic work culture.
DeGeneres himself, who has long been the subject of the Hollywood rumor mill, has also been accused of personal behavior towards employees and others, which has been described as "mean", "rude" and "cold".
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