After months in the headlines, the scandal surrounding Ellen DeGeneres and her flagship talk show is showing little sign of going away.
In fact, things have only intensified with reports that WarnerMedia and a third party firm have launched an internal investigation into the allegations of bullying, unfair dismissal and discrimination made by current and former Ellen Show staff.
And now, in a leaked letter obtained by the Hollywood Reporter, the 30-time Emmy winner has said she takes “responsibility” as the program bears her name, adding that changes will be made.
“Hey everybody — it’s Ellen. 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,” the letter read.
“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.
“I could not have the success I’ve had without all of your contributions. My name is on the show and everything we do and I take responsibility for that.”
Why Ellen spoke out
While Ellen's lengthy letter seems contrite - she says she's “committed to ensuring this does not happen again” - brand and reputation management Eric Schiffer tells Yahoo Lifestyle he isn't convinced.
“Ellen’s statement appears to be an attempt to [imply] that she had no knowledge of the horrific conduct that is now a Warner investigation,” Schiffer, who is chairman of Reputation Management Consultants, says in an exclusive chat.
“Ellen was about to be buried alive and she only took responsibility because of the threat and pressure of losing her show,” he adds.
Ellen execs under fire
The majority of the complaints made by current and former workers who spoke out anonymously to Buzzfeed News earlier in July were levelled at the Ellen Show’s executive producers - Ed Glavin, Mary Connelly and Andy Lassner.
They were accused of bullying, favouritism, racism and firing staff for taking medical leave or bereavement days.
The executive producers have since addressed those claims in a statement, saying that they are ‘truly heartbroken’ and ‘committed to doing better’.
However, in a follow-up Buzzfeed News piece published a week after the first one, dozens of men and women who had worked on the show came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment against a number of senior staff members.
Executive producers Kevin Leman and Ed Glavin and co-executive producer Jonathan Norman were all named.
Leman and Norman have categorically denied the claims however Glavin has yet to respond. The Hollywood Reporter claims that Glavin will “soon be out”.
Ellen ‘not always nice’
While the Ellen Show’s senior staffers appear to be at the centre of the ‘toxic workplace’ allegations, Ellen herself has also been called out.
Back in May, an explosive Twitter thread was flooded with hundreds of first-person accounts of the host ‘being mean’ and her wild on-set demands.
At around the same time former security guard, Tom Majercak, who looked after Ellen and her family when she hosted the 2014 Academy Awards described her as “very cold” to Fox News.
He claimed that while her wife Portia de Rossi was delightful to work with, Ellen didn’t engage at all beyond a ‘side glance out of her eye’, saying he was shocked to witness her ‘false facade’ drop away.
Another former staffer appeared to back up the mounting claims, telling the New York Post: “The stories are all true!”
“Is she always nice? No.” They continued: “It irritates me that people think she’s all sweetness and light and she gets away with it,” they added.
In Buzzfeed News’ initial piece, former staffers claimed they were told not to speak to the 62-year-old TV presenter if she was in the office.
And in the publication’s follow up, a longtime former employee alleged that the host was aware of the misconduct behind the scenes.
“She knows,” they said. “She knows s**t goes on, but also she doesn’t want to hear it.”
Most recently, a former Today show boss recalled a “bizarre” 2013 interview between Richard Wilkins and Ellen, saying that the star’s team instructed him not to look at her.
“[T]he people who worked with her walked on eggshells the whole time and the whole thing was totally bizarre,” he said.