In Ellen DeGeneres’ first show back since the allegations that she fostered a toxic, racist work environment, she ‘took responsibility’ for what happened and said she was ‘so sorry’ to all affected.
UPDATE (Sept. 21, 5:15pm ET): Just a few hours after Ellen DeGeneres spoke out during the Season 18 premiere of her talk show, producer Stephen “tWitch” Boss told HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY, “[The new season] is so exciting, so exciting. We have been waiting for a while and obviously the summer has gone by and we are excited to be back. We are excited to bring the life and love and the stuff that we have always done. But it is very exciting actually and it is going to be a very special season.”
“I’m so happy to be back in the studio. There are a lot of things I want to talk about,” said Ellen DeGeneres on the premiere of Season 18 of The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Ellen, 62, didn’t waste any time addressing the allegations that she oversaw a toxic work environment. “I learned that things happened here that should never have happened,” said Ellen. “And I want to say I am so sorry to the people who were affected. I know that I’m 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.”
Today we’re starting a new chapter. pic.twitter.com/PvpZXnXLv5
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) September 21, 2020
“We have had a lot of conversations,” she continued, “over the last few weeks about the show, our workplace, and what we want for the future. We have made the necessary changes, and today, we are starting a new chapter.” Ellen also addressed the “articles in the press” that claimed she wasn’t “I am not who I appear to be on TV.” She explained that she started saying “be kind to one another” after Tyler Clementi took his own life in 2010 after being bullied for being gay. “I thought the world needed more kindness,” said Ellen, “Being known as the ‘be kind lady’ is tricky.”
“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. And I am especially working on the impatience thing because – because it’s not happening fast enough.”
Despite that joke, Ellen was serious when she said that she couldn’t Come out here every day for seventeen years and fool” the audience into thinking she was someone she wasn’t. “My intention is to always be the best person I can be. And if I ever let someone down, if I’ve ever hurt their feelings, I’m so sorry for that.”
Ellen said she was grateful for the “two hundred and seventy people” who help make her show, and all she wants is for “every single one of them to be happy and proud that they work here.”
This apology comes nearly two months after WarnerMedia launched an internal investigation into the Ellen show following reports from current and former employees who claimed they experienced racism, workplace intimidation, and mistreatment. The investigation didn’t find evidence that Ellen fostered a racist work environment, but that there were moments of occasional racial insensitivity.
At the end of July, Ellen issued an apology to her staff in an internal memo. “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. Obviously, something changed, and I am disappointed to learn that this has not been the case. And for that, I am sorry,” she said in the document.
However, she also defended herself, claiming that she was “misrepresented” by “people who work with me and for me are speaking on my behalf.” Ellen reportedly made a second apology to the Ellen staff in August, and a source told HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY that she took this moment as a “great wake-up call. She’s now dedicated to “righting a wrong.”