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'The Ellen DeGeneres Show' Is Under Internal Investigation

Talk show host and comedian Ellen DeGeneres onstage at the Grammys in January.
Robyn Beck
AFP via Getty Images
Talk show host and comedian Ellen DeGeneres onstage at the Grammys in January.

The Ellen DeGeneres Show is under internal investigation by WarnerMedia following a series of allegations of racism, workplace intimidation and other mistreatment made by employees of the popular daytime talk show.

A person familiar with the situation confirmed to NPR on Tuesday that WarnerMedia has begun an investigation into complaints of toxic workplace behavior behind the scenes at the show. Variety first reported on Monday that the internal investigation is underway.

Earlier this month, BuzzFeed News published a string of allegations about workplace misconduct made by 11 unnamed current and former employees. Their complaints included firings after taking medical or bereavement leave; a Black employee having racist comments levied at her by senior staff; and staffers being told not to speak directly to DeGeneres.

The alleged behavior, the accusers said, is at odds with the "be kind" ethos that DeGeneres presents on air. In a joint statement to BuzzFeed News, executive producers Ed Glavin, Mary Connelly and Andy Lassner said that they took the allegations "very seriously," adding in part: "We are truly heartbroken and sorry to learn that even one person in our production family has had a negative experience."

The unnamed accusers said executive producers and human resources were accountable for the alleged mistreatment — but one said that DeGeneres "really needs to take responsibility," according to BuzzFeed News.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Anastasia Tsioulcas is a reporter on NPR's Arts desk. She is intensely interested in the arts at the intersection of culture, politics, economics and identity, and primarily reports on music. Recently, she has extensively covered gender issues and #MeToo in the music industry, including backstage tumult and alleged secret deals in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against megastar singer Plácido Domingo; gender inequity issues at the Grammy Awards and the myriad accusations of sexual misconduct against singer R. Kelly.