New details have emerged from the Zoom call that was hosted by Ellen DeGeneres with more than 200 of her staffers on Monday, after it was revealed that three of the show’s lead producers had been fired amid her toxic workplace scandal.
Ellen, 62, is said to have opened up about being ‘introverted’ and how she sometimes has ‘good days and bad days’ which she understands could come across as being mean, but vowed to make changes going forward, in a bid to salvage The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
The embattled talk-show host is also said to have addressed the rumor that there was an unspoken rule on set that none of the staff members were allowed to give her eye contact, according to PageSix.
‘I don’t know where it started,’ Ellen reportedly said in the Zoom meeting with her staff. ‘Please talk to me. Look me in the eye.’ She went on the describe the rumor as ‘insane’ saying: ‘It’s crazy, just not true, I don’t know how it started. [It’s] not who I am.’
Among many claims and accusations that have been thrown at the host this past year, was one made by former producer Neil Breed who claimed that staff were encouraged not to look at her.
‘[Ellen DeGeneres’] producers called us aside… and said, ‘Now, Neil, no one is to talk to Ellen. You don’t talk to her, you don’t approach her, you don’t look at her,'” Neil Breen said in July on radio station 4BC.
He added: ‘She’ll come in, she’ll sit down, she’ll talk to Richard and then Ellen will leave.’ And I sort of said, ‘I can’t look at her?’ I found the whole thing bizarre.’
Ellen’s Zoom call with staff comes after the firing of executive producers Ed Glavin and Kevin Leman and co-executive producer Jonathan Norman, amid an investigation by WarnerMedia into the toxic environment of the show.
According to Deadline, Ellen is alleged to have apologized to her staff during the call and opened up about being introverted and having ‘good days and bad days.’
She is said to have explained how this sometimes makes her want to be alone and have her own space on set, which she allegedly admitted could be misconstrued by staff as her coming across as mean or unfriendly.
‘Does that mean I’m perfect? No. I’m not,’ Ellen reportedly said. ‘I’m a multi-layered person, and I try to be the best person I can be and try to learn from my mistakes.’
The hit talk-show will be now be lead by existing executive producers Mary Connelly, Andy Lassner and Derek Westervelt.
The report adds that Ellen’s in-house DJ on the show, Stephen ‘tWitch’ Boss, has been named co-executive producer, who recently appeared to defend his boss by saying there has ‘been love’ on the set.
Meanwhile Variety reports that the host – who has herself been accused of of fostering a ‘toxic environment’ – admitted on the call that the show’s leaders had not been sensitive to ‘human beings’ as they instead focused on running the show as a ‘well-oiled machine.’
Ellen also admitted the show had alienated employees and guests by shifting shooting timetables at short notice and pledged that going forwards the show will stick to agreed-upon timetables.
The start date for the 18th season of the show has also been pushed back by a week to September 14, staff were told.
An attorney for Kevin Leman said his client was ‘devastated’ about being ‘scapegoated’ and described his ousting from the show as ‘shocking’.
‘The fact that a deeply flawed BuzzFeed article has led to the termination of an innocent man – a popular figure and a creative force behind the “Ellen” show and a string of other projects produced with Ellen – is shocking,’ Michael Plonsker said in a statement, referring to a Buzzfeed article where allegations against the producer first surfaced.
‘Kevin is devastated by being scapegoated and is not yet ready to comment.’
The firings of three of the top producers come as the series is in the midst of an internal investigation into allegations of on-set sexual misconduct, as well as workplace bullying.
The investigation was first sparked by a Buzzfeed expose into the show last month.
The July 16 article revealed claims made by one current and 10 former employees of Ellen’s talk show saying they experienced racism, fear and intimidation while working on the long-running series and accusing producers Lassner, Connelly and Glavin of bullying.
The show then faced additional accusations about sexual misconduct in a second BuzzFeed News article on July 30, in which dozens of men and women accused Leman, Glavin and Norman of sexual harassment, misconduct or assault.
Leman and Norman denied the claims. They and Glavin were promptly suspended while Warner Bros. launched an investigation.