On the Season 18 premiere of her talk show today, Ellen DeGeneres couldn’t dance her way out of the controversy that has been following her around all summer.
So she addressed it head on.
At the very beginning.
Sarcastically referrring her summer “super terrific,” DeGeneres apologized to anyone who had been negatively affected while working on her staff.
“As you may have heard this summer, there were allegations of a toxic work environment at our show and then there was an investigation.
“I learned that things happened that never should have happened.
“I take that very seriously,” the comedian explained in a nearly five-minute monologue before a virtual studio audience on Monday, September 21.
Over a dozen current and former staff members alleged they faced harassment, intimidation and racism in reports by BuzzFeed over the summer.
DeGeneres, of course, has seen her once-sterling reputation tarnished to an extreme amid reports of microaggressions, sexism and outright cruelty between executive producers and staffers on her program.
Most of these accused producers have since been fired — but the proverbial buck stops with the woman whose name is attached to the series, you know?
“I want to say I am so sorry to the people who are affected,” Ellen continued in her premiere opening.
“I know that I am in a position of privilege and power and I realize that with that comes responsibility. And I take responsibility for what happens at my show. This is The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”
Ellen noted that “a lot of conversations” have taken place since the allegations began to emerge this spring.
She said that “necessary changes” were made for the improvement of her daytime talk show’s future… and that today marked the start of a “new chapter.”
The irony throughout this scandal has been that Ellen made her brand on the manta to “be kind” at all times.
And she’s now being accused of being a total phony who is only nice to people when the camera is on.
“The truth is, I am that person that you see on TV. I am also a lot of other things,” she said this morning.
“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, and I am especially working on the impatience thing and it’s not going well because it’s not happening fast enough. I will tell you that.”
A statement from WarnerMedia released at the time stated: “Warner Bros. and Ellen DeGeneres take the recent allegations around the show’s workplace culture very seriously.
DeGeneres went on to say she is trying to “learn” at all times and that she’s always trying to be the “best person” she can be.
In concluding her opening address, she praised the 270 people who are employed by her show and said that she is “so grateful” to have them on board.
DeGeneres wants for “every single one of them to be happy and to be proud” to work where they do and that she still wants her show to be a place where folks can “escape” from the atrocities of life (these days especially) and just experience joy.
The star said she’s additionally “committed to making this the best season” of her namesake show yet.
With that, the virtual crowd applauded and Ellen moved on.
Tiffany Haddish later joined DeGeneres on the Burbank, California, set as the season’s first guest.
Kerry Washington, Alec Baldwin, K-pop star SuperM and Kris Jenner are scheduled to appear during premiere week.
Earlier this summer, DeGeneres also addressed these troubling allegations via a YouTube video.
“On day one of our show, I told everyone in our first meeting that The Ellen DeGeneres Show would be a place of happiness – no one would ever raise their voice, and everyone would be treated with respect,” she said on July 30.
“Obviously, something changed, and I am disappointed to learn that this has not been the case. And for that, I am sorry.
“Anyone who knows me knows it’s the opposite of what I believe and what I hoped for our show.”
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