A former producer of The Ellen DeGeneres Show has come out and made some shocking claims about the embattled TV host, 62.
On Wednesday, Hedda Muskat appeared on the Australian breakfast program Sunrise and claimed that she was ’emotionally abused’ during her time working on the show.
It comes amid a scandal that the show’s work culture is rife with bullying, racism and sexual harassment.
Ms Muskat, who worked on the show during its debut season in 2003, said that she was ‘fired for no reason’.
‘I was more emotionally abused, fired for no reason… they told me that they were just going to take the show in a different direction. They ended up gave my job to a guy I trained who was about 24 years old and had no experience,’ Ms Muskat said.
Ms Muskat said that once when executive producer Ed Glavin pulled her into his office, she was asked about her contacts and sources and refused to give them up to maintain journalistic integrity, which did her no favours.
‘From that moment I was on the hit list and no longer invited to staff meetings… wasn’t allowed to sit at their table at the Emmy’s – it was a very egg-shell environment,’ Hedda said.
Ms Muskat said on Sunrise that Ellen’s behaviour was poor from the beginning and that she’d often ‘snarl’.
‘When you walk into her office for example, to pitch her your segments, there was always a snarl. I always felt that I was never welcomed in her office, she always hurried me, “like get to the point, get to the point,” Ms Muskat said.
Ms Muskat claimed that after a few months, she was told to no longer go into Ellen’s office.
She said that one day she even took her daughter into work and wanted to introduce her to Ellen, but she was shown ‘so much disrespect’.
‘She just snarled again, walked by and I was flabbergasted, she didn’t even make eye contact,’ Ms Muskat said.
‘I was told later to no longer bring my daughter to work… I was told… “she doesn’t want kids in the office.”
Ms Muskat said that she’s the first producer to come forward and put their name to their claims, with many going forward anonymously.
But she hopes to encourage others to do the same.
‘I’m coming forward because… she trivalised and minimalised everybody’s accusations…. nobody wanted to listen to us until now.’
Ms Muskat meanwhile called DeGeneres ‘toxic’ in an interview with The Wrap that was published on Monday.
‘I had never seen this before, I had never been around a toxic host,’ she said.
Speaking with The Wrap, she recalled one instance in which Ellen ‘giggled’ while the show’s executive producer, Ed Glavin, screamed at a crew member in front of an entire room.
‘He [Glavin] just went off on them. His whole face turned red. … We were stunned,’ Ms Muskat recalled.
‘I was waiting for Ellen to say something like, “Whoa, Ed, don’t talk like that”. But do you know what she did? She giggled.’
Ms Muskat went on: ‘She [Ellen] crossed her legs up on the chair and she said, “Well, I guess every production needs their dog”.
‘You could just see everybody’s faces go stiff. We’re professionals; we’re adults. We don’t need a dog to get us to do our jobs … She was the only one giggling.’
‘Ed [Glavin] didn’t act independently. Ed was a bully, but he worked for Ellen. It was her show,’ Ms Muskat stated.
The scandal is making headlines around the world, with claims that the show’s work culture is rife with bullying, racism and sexual harrassment.
In July, staffers on the syndicated daytime talk show had cited a number of the show’s executive producers in their complaints, including Kevin Leman and Ed Glavin.
Last week, DeGeneres told staffers she was sorry about what was going on, in a memo addressing the ongoing controversy.
‘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 wrote. ‘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.’
DeGeneres said she was unable to ‘stay on top of everything’ with her hosting duties and delegated to ‘others to do their jobs as they knew I’d want them done.
‘Clearly some didn’t. That will now change and I’m committed to ensuring this does not happen again… I’m also learning that people who work with me and for me are speaking on my behalf and misrepresenting who I am and that has to stop.’
She added: ‘As someone who was judged and nearly lost everything for just being who I am, I truly understand and have deep compassion for those being looked at differently, or treated unfairly, not equal, or – worse – disregarded. To think that any one of you felt that way is awful to me.’
Celebs who have gone public against Ellen include Brad Garrett and Lea Thompson, while celebs who’ve emerged in defense of the embattled talk show host, including Scooter Braun, DJ/musician Samantha Ronson and Ellen’s wife of 12 years Portia de Rossi.
Portia who posted a graphic on Instagram saying, ‘I stand by Ellen’ in what appeared to be an attempt to push public sentiment back in the corner of the talk show host. ‘To all our fans….we see you. Thank you for your support,’ Portia wrote Monday, adding the hashtags, #stopbotattacks, #IStandWithEllenDeGeneres and #IStandByEllen.
A source told the New York Post that the talk show host has been ‘crushed,’ ‘devastated’ and ‘hysterical’ amid calls for her to leave the show.
‘She felt like everything she worked so hard for was falling apart,’ the insider said.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted representatives of Ellen for comment in relation to this story.