Ellen DeGeneres has apologised to staff on her US talk show following an investigation into claims of a toxic work environment.
Warner Bros, which produces The Ellen DeGeneres Show, also announced it will make staffing changes as well as taking “appropriate measures to address the issues that have been raised” after an internal review found “deficiencies related to the show’s day-to-day management”.
It comes after a Buzzfeed News investigation made a series of claims about the alleged toxic culture on the day time talk show that has been on the air since 2003.
The publication spoke to former employees who made allegations of racism, unfair dismissal, intimidation and an overall toxic environment, perpetuated by the show’s senior producers.
Ellen, who is known for her “be kind” mantra, issued an apology to staff in a memo obtained by The Hollywood Reporter.
“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,” Ellen 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.”
Ellen said as the show had grown she had relied on others to “do their jobs as they knew I’d want them done”.
“Clearly some didn’t,” she said. “That will now change and I’m committed to ensuring this does not happen again.”
The 62-year-old star famously came out as gay in 1997 amid fevered media interest, which she referenced in the memo.
“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,” she said.
“To think that anyone of you felt that way is awful to me.”
She finished the note by saying she is “so proud” of the show and apologised again to staff.
“If not for Covid, I’d have done this in person, and I can’t wait to be back on our stage and see you all then,” she concluded.
Warner Bros added: “Warner Bros and Ellen DeGeneres are all committed to ensuring a workplace based on respect and inclusion. We are confident this course of action will lead us to the right way forward for the show.”