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‘Ellen’ show ousts three producers after Warner Bros investigation into accusations

Ellen DeGeneres
Ellen DeGeneres faced workplace complaints over her show.
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Ellen DeGeneres ousted three top producers from her long-running chat show in response to accusations of bad behavior on set.

Executive producers Ed Glavin and Kevin Leman and co-executive producer Jonathan Norman have stepped down after an investigation by the Warner Bros.-produced talk show, the studio confirmed.

Veteran producers Mary Connelly, Andy Lassner and Derek Westervelt will continue in their positions. Stephen Boss, who is the resident DJ on the show, was upped to co-executive producer. The news was first reported by Variety.

After several reports of a toxic working environment on the set of the comedian’s show, distributor Warner Bros. has brought in consultants to examine the claims.

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The changes follow reports of troubles on set in recent months, including allegations of mistreatment of the show’s crew and a toxic workplace. The criticisms seemed to clash with DeGeneres’ happy-go-lucky image of a comedian whom everyone loves, and who describes her show as “a place of happiness.”

The producers want to make “working on the show as fun as the show itself,” Connelly told the 250-member crew via Zoom today as the show resumes production. DeGeneres, who was on the call, said she was asked to stay silent on the matter during the company’s investigation.

The company conducted 100 interviews and found no culture of racism on the show but did hear that some had been offended by attempts at jokes, Lassner told the crew during the call. He said the company would hold education and training sessions at all levels to avoid any repetition of that behavior.

Last month, DeGeneres said that she and the studio would take steps to address the issues raised by former and current staff members and that some of those making the show had been “misrepresenting” her.

Previously, the studio said that while it could not corroborate all of the allegations it was disappointed to find “some deficiencies related to the show’s day-to-day management.”

Back in July, Warner Bros production company Telepictures informed staff members on the show that it was enlisting WarnerMedia’s employee relations team and a third-party consultant to interview current and former employees about their experiences.

The comedian faced a slew of criticisms beginning with a Twitter thread started by comedian Kevin T. Porter that compiled negative experiences related to DeGeneres and her show, which airs on NBC. Some crew members complained they were abandoned during the shutdown.

BuzzFeed News then reported allegations of intimidation of current and former employees, including claims of being fired for taking medical or bereavement leave; one said she was a victim of racial discrimination. A second report detailed several instances of sexual misconduct involving the three top producers.

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Warner Bros. has declined to comment on the claims, citing an ongoing investigation. The studio has said the crew has been paid during the pandemic but at a reduced rate.


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