The Ellen DeGeneres Show has been generating all kinds of buzz this summer, but not because of the host pulling off any new pranks or dance moves. Employees began speaking out back in July, claiming a toxic work environment as well as sexual misconduct and assault. The complaints resulted in an investigation into the show and a statement from Ellen DeGeneres. Now, new claims have been made about the environment at Ellen that add fuel to the fire.
A woman claiming to be a former camera assistant spoke anonymously on the B105 Brisbane podcast, although she stated that she is still working in the film industry out of Los Angeles. This woman said that she worked at The Ellen DeGeneres show for "a little over a year" and compared the experience to The Devil Wears Prada, saying it's a "badge of honor" to make it through a year with Ellen on the resume.
The woman stated that she doesn't "think that Ellen knows what’s going on on her own show," which supports earlier allegations that were against producers rather than Ellen DeGeneres herself. Citing a "culture of competition," the anonymous woman alleged:
I think that the film industry is a really hard industry to make it in, and you do things to push yourself up the ladder that other industries would never dream of. A ten-hour schedule is considered very relaxed for the film industry, and that’s the schedule that The Ellen Show exists on, but it’s more than that. It’s more like when you are asking for certain basic rights, like you’re asking to be paid for your overtime or you’re asking for water on a hot day on a hot set and you’re being told things like, ‘If you don’t like it here, there’s the door. Goodbye.’
According to the anonymous woman, whose status as a former camera assistant at The Ellen DeGeneres Show was not confirmed, working on the show involved being denied "certain basic rights" including water on a hot set. She also stated that the "culture of competition" at the show "reminded" employees that they are "unimportant" in a show that "will succeed with or without you."
Although the show is obviously named for Ellen DeGeneres, the anonymous woman alleged that DeGeneres herself "has no idea who most of the staff even are," and even denied that she was ever able to meet DeGeneres during her year at the show:
Absolutely not. This is a question that I received many, many times from friends and family when I worked on the show. People are really excited to know, ‘Have you ever met her?’ No. I wasn’t even allowed in the same room as her. Most people are told when Ellen enters a room, you and your entire crew need to leave.
In the wake of the claims made against The Ellen Degeneres Show, a number of celebrities spoke up in Ellen DeGeneres' defense, including Kevin Hart, Ashton Kutcher, and Katy Perry, whose experiences at the show evidently did not match with what others were alleging. The anonymous woman weighed in on the discrepancy, arguing that celebrities like Kutcher and Perry did not have the same experiences at the show as a staffer would on a daily basis.
The anonymous woman went on to describe the alleged competitive culture fostered at The Ellen DeGeneres Show:
I think that there’s a big aspect of competition, and to go back to the atmosphere of the film industry, it is expected that you’ll put 110% into your job and you’ll try to come up with the funniest lines and the best ideas, but the culture at Ellen is really pitting people against each other. So instead of collaborating and coming up with great ideas, people are blaming others for their mistakes and presenting group ideas as their own and stuff like that.
Despite the allegations against people who have worked at The Ellen DeGeneres Show, there are no expectations that the hit show will be cancelled or that DeGeneres herself will be taken off the air. That's not to say that the claims made about misconduct at Ellen will be ignored; multiple producers were fired from the show on August 17 following suspensions at the end of July.