Ellen DeGeneres Apology Panned by Former Staffers & Viewers
Following an investigation into allegations of misconduct and a toxic workplace, Ellen DeGeneres addressed her recent controversy in the opening monologue of her talk show's Season 18 premiere. But apparently staffers (both current and former) aren't pleased with her apology.
In the opening moments of the Ellen DeGeneres Show on Monday (below), the longtime host included jokes, per usual, and that didn't sit well with show employees who spoke with Buzzfeed News, the outlet that initially reported on the racism, harassment, sexual misconduct, and intimidation on the talk show. (After the investigation, executive producers Ed Glavin and Kevin Leman and co-executive producer Jonathan Norman were fired.)
"Not only did Ellen turn my trauma, turn our traumas, into a joke, she somehow managed to make this about her," a former staffer reportedly said to the site. Another pointed to DeGeneres' joke about her "great" summer: "I thought, 'It's funny that you had a rough summer because everyone was calling out all of the allegations of your toxic work environment and now you're the one suffering?" Another former employee didn't think it was "appropriate to have jokes" given "the seriousness of sexual misconduct" accusations.
A current staffer did find it "amazing" that DeGeneres addressed what's been happening in her monologue since they're in "an environment where nothing is said and everyone keeps their head down." However, the person isn't sure they "believe in this message." The employee called her apology "tactical," noting that the host is "sharing it now because it's for premiere week and it's to get viewers back, and that just feels the opposite of what this message is about." The staffer also claimed they hadn't heard much from their superiors about Season 18 and their responsibilities had been "put on hold" until after the premiere.
A former employee also said they "don't feel sorry that she's in a s**t load of trouble" due to her "be kind lady" nickname. "She's acting like it was something she said in passing that just stuck with her," when that wasn't the case, the person continued. "She went forward with this idea and this marketing strategy that was not true behind the scenes."
"I thought the world needed more kindness and it was a reminder that we all needed that," DeGeneres said in her opening monologue about her previously urging people to be "kind to one another" after Tyler Clementi took his own life after he was bullied for being gay. "The truth is, I am that person you see on TV. I am also a lot of other things. Sometimes I get 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 continued. "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. If that's ever the case, I've let myself down and I've hurt myself as well because I always try to grow as a person."
The host's words, rather than an apology from someone at Warner Bros., were also not what one former employee wanted to hear. "It was like, 'Tell us all of the most f**ked-up things that happened to you for the investigation, and now that we've written it all down, see you later," that person said. "It just feels like there's no ending to this for people who came forward and said things that happened to them and reopened these wounds and rehashed these memories."
Viewers have also criticized DeGeneres for her apology across social media.
ellen degeneres’ apology video sounds like a notes app apology pic.twitter.com/Bo6Ls5fDU5
— ☁︎ (@heyitskariema) September 21, 2020
watching Ellen’s “apology” monologue like pic.twitter.com/DKuC5nKNOZ
— becca ✨ (@beccalikeya) September 21, 2020
Nobody believes Ellen’s apology, and that virtual audience of oversized iPads is terrifying. pic.twitter.com/xBITkhxV3G
— connor (@connororwhatevs) September 21, 2020
Ellen DeGeneres is gonna have to apologize for the apology lmao
— Shamar English (@english_shamar) September 21, 2020
not @ me being able to watch ellen degeneres' apology because she's making jokes in between serious statements 👀
— 🌞🍊👃👃🦅🐢 (@oldminniedoll) September 21, 2020
The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Weekdays, check your local listings