The blows just keep coming for TV talk show titan Ellen DeGeneres. This year, it seems as though her show has come under siege as accusations from former employees and guests painted a picture of a toxic environment. DeGeneres herself was the target of guest and audience complaints as people claimed the comedian was rude. Now, DeGeneres may find herself defending against more accusations of her character as an ex-staffer makes some shocking claims.
What’s been happening behind the scenes of the Ellen Show?
Last month, we explored accusations made against Ellen Show producers. Several complaints were made that the producers engaged in behaviors that constitute sexual harassment or sexual assault. “Dozens of former employees of The Ellen Show agree that executive producer Ed Glavin touched them, and that he had a reputation for being very hands-on with women he worked with. One former employee spoke with BuzzFeed says of Glavin, ‘You could definitely see the creep factor, and the creepy touching. That was out in the open for everybody to see. Obviously, no one wants that and no one wants to be uncomfortably touched by someone… But you didn’t want to piss them off or you would be fired, so it was just that culture of fear.’
BuzzFeed also reports that Glavin used intimidation and fear in managing his employees; one such story by a former employee details Glavin flipping over a table and chair while screaming. ‘Five former employees also said they saw Glavin use a button at his desk to remotely shut his office door, ‘as an intimidation tactic’ during reprimands,’ according to former employees who spoke with BuzzFeed, and there are several bizarre stories about Glavin using his in-office shower to make people feel uncomfortable. Glavin has not responded to these accusations, but UsWeekly reports that he is planning to step down.
The alarming allegations don’t end there. Yet another senior staff member, this time co-executive producer Jonathan Norman, is accused of having groomed an employee over time by, ‘taking him to concerts and other work-related perks, and then one night attempted to perform oral sex on him.’ This allegation was corroborated by three former colleagues who spoke with BuzzFeed. Like Leman, Norman denies the accusations.”
A tweet calls the happy Ellen Show atmosphere into question
And after a tweet made an appeal for people to share their stories about experiences with the Ellen Show, details began trickling in that shed light on what many called a, “toxic workplace environment.” CELEB discovered, “In response to the tweet, some guests say that they were not treated kindly, and a few claim that DeGeneres herself was cold and rude behind the scenes. The talk show host issued an apology, in a letter to her employees, which reads very much as though she was unaware of what was going on right under her nose among her employees.”
As if that wasn’t enough, the bad news keeps coming for DeGeneres
August didn’t finish any better for DeGeneres than it started, and two more counts of the talk show host’s alleged bad behavior emerged. One man recounted how DeGeneres bullied him when he was a child. The comedian worked for Ben Gravolet’s mother when he was a boy in the 70’s. Gravolet claims DeGeneres mocked his weight and drawing ability, and he would, “dread,” running into her at his mother’s workplace. Gravolet’s mother claims she was unaware of the bullying, and would have intervened had she known.
And in late August, another blow to the TV talk show host. A video resurfaced of DeGeneres mocking her employees. In any other month, it wouldn’t have made news. But amidst accusations that the Ellen Show environment is toxic, the video rings callous and tone-deaf. CELEB looked into the video, and summed up some of the more disturbing moments,
- “Showing a picture of audience producer Claudia holding 10 cent underwear and asking ‘Do we not pay you enough?’ And ‘What are you doing going to China Town?’
- Showing a picture of producer Alyssa (from the control room) of Alyssa passed out in her car after The Emmy Awards the previous year. DeGeneres denotes that ‘Nothing shows a celebration like ‘we won’ and then you’re just passed out in the car by yourself.’
- Showing a few pictures of producer Matt (who DeGeneres claims ‘we had to drag out here’). These pictures included him holding bowling balls near the top of his jeans (‘What were you doing there?’ DeGeneres remarks as the audience laughs), a picture of how he ‘spent his birthday’- with a half-dressed man. DeGeneres asks ‘Do you want me to keep going?’
- Showing a picture of writer Lauren (who had gone out for a night of parrying with producer Matt) standing next to a man in very revealing underwear with dollar bills in his underwear. ‘Lauren, do you know his name?’ DeGeneres asks.
DeGeneres wraps the segment by stating that ‘Usually when I show photos of my audience, they get iPads, but all of my staff, you’re meeting with Human Resources.'”
The whole picture is disturbing
On the heels of such a video, the newest accusations hold a certain amount of gravity. A year ago, it seems likely no one would have believed accusations made against the popular and well-loved comedian. But with so many disturbing allegations one after the other, even her staunchest fans have to be wondering if there’s something under the surface.
New allegations may be the most disturbing against DeGeneres yet
While the accusations against Ellen Show producers are unarguably the most concerning, the newest claims paint a picture of someone who delights in upsetting others. This runs contrary to DeGeneres’ on-air persona which preaches love and acceptance for all. While it should be mentioned that all of the accusations being made are unsubstantiated, they’re a small piece in a large picture that raises questions about DeGeneres’ integrity. According to a source who spoke to DailyMail on the condition of anonymity, DeGeneres enjoyed setting traps to catch employees slacking at their work, and delighted in firing them.
The DailyMail shared, “‘My belief is that someone’s real personality comes out at home,’ the former employee told DailyMail.com.
‘So after everything that has been said about her at work, you can imagine how terrible Ellen is going to be at home when her guard is down. Sometimes she would yell at us but it was more about the incredibly condescending tone she would use. She treated you like you were nothing.
‘She was going to torture you and you were just going to sit there and listen to it because you were being paid. Ellen was the worst person that I’ve ever met in my life. She takes pleasure in firing people.'”
The former employee, who worked in DeGeneres’ California mansion, went on to say, “‘Ellen is terribly obsessive compulsive and if anything is out of order in her environment she gets upset,’ said the insider, who asked to remain anonymous over concerns DeGeneres could retaliate legally.
‘There might be 20 to 30 things every day. We are talking about the finest, finest details here – a salt shaker out of place or a light switch left on. She wanted the coffee maker deep cleaned every day after complaining that there was too much or too little froth on her latte.
‘The staff was getting better and better and making fewer mistakes but she couldn’t help herself so she would lay traps. She would actually leave matchsticks around the house, behind cupboard doors, cushions or books to see if the staff was cleaning and moving things.
‘One day the staff found around eight of them, all in weird places. The rest of the day became a race to find them all before she got home and fired someone.'”
Even the dogs don’t like Ellen??
The DailyMail story continues, quoting the ex-staffer, “When someone came to the house, for example to repair an appliance, she wouldn’t hold back. It could be something as simple as the compressor on the refrigerator making too much noise,’ the source said. ‘One of the top security firms in Hollywood terminated their contract with her. Some of criticisms I heard were that she didn’t like the way they walked. I’m not even kidding, she literally didn’t like the way they walked. Also how they opened and closed doors.
‘She had multiple dogs and cats and she didn’t like the way they would walk through and not close them quickly enough. The dogs loved Portia and would jump up when she came home. The animals would barely get up when Ellen walked in.
‘I have a friend who was on The Ellen DeGeneres show one day who told me a story about how Ellen pointed out a production assistant and said ‘get rid of her, I don’t like the way she looks at me”. I heard that story from two separate sources. It didn’t surprise me in the slightest.’ The former employee was fired after a couple of months but was, by then, one of the longer serving staffers.
‘There were numerous people that she fired, rehired, then fired a second time. I heard about a manager who started on a particularly bad day and was fired in the first two hours,’ the source told DailyMail.com. ‘I would never cry in front of them but I was always stressed out and on the verge of tears. I remember going home sometimes thinking I just hated my life.'”
After multiple apologies, where can DeGeneres even go from here?
DeGeneres has already issued at least two apologies regarding this year’s accusations. Aside from continuing to apologize, what can the tv talk show host do to recover her reputation intact? It’s a complicated problem. Because so many people agree on DeGeneres’ poor behavior, the comedian is fighting an uphill battle against public perception. DeGeneres’ pivot from tv talk show darling with a sterling reputation to bad tempered diva with a penchant for making employees miserable is a reminder that nobody is above their own reputation. Whether or not these allegations will prove to be true, or what DeGeneres will say in response, is thus far unknown. As DeGeneres works to overcome a year of nightmarish reputation tarnishing accusations, she and wife Portia will eventually have to decide if all of this is worth it. And fans will have to decide whether they believe the evidence of their eyes and ears over the years, or the mounting evidence against DeGeneres.