Ellen DeGeneres Addresses Toxic Workplace Allegations In Season 18 Premiere


The Ellen DeGeneres Show is back.

On Monday (September 21), Ellen DeGeneres returned to the set of her long-running talk show after a months-long COVID-19 hiatus. While the show was on break, multiple reports of widespread toxicity and harassment on set were reported. During her opening monologue, DeGeneres addressed the allegations and vowed to do better going forward.

"If you're watching, because you love me, thank you," DeGeneres began. "If you're watching it because you don't love me, welcome. How was everybody's summer? Good. Yeah, mine was great. Terrific. I'm so happy to be back in the studio. There are a lot of things I want to talk about. I've been looking forward to addressing it all directly and unfortunately talking directly to people has been illegal for six months."

"As you may have heard this summer, there were allegations of a toxic work environment at our show," the comedian continued. "And then there was an investigation. I learned that things happened here that never should have happened. I take that very seriously. And I want to say, I am so sorry to the people who were affected. I know that I'm in a position of privilege and power. I realized that with that comes responsibility and I take responsibility for what happens at my show. This isThe Ellen DeGeneres Show. I am Ellen DeGeneres. My name is there. My name is there. My name is on underwear. We have had a lot of conversations over the last few weeks about the show, our workplace and what we want for the future. We have made the necessary changes. And today we are starting a new chapter."

DeGeneres also took time to address claims that her TV persona doesn't match who real-life personality. "There were also articles in the press and on social media that said that I am not who I appear to be on TV because I became known as the 'Be Kind Lady,'" she told her virtual audience. "And here's how that happened. I started saying 'be kind to one another' after a young man named Tyler Clemente took his own life after being bullied for being gay. I thought the world needed more kindness. And it was a reminder that we all needed that. And I think we need it more than ever right now. Being known as the 'Be Kind Lady' is a tricky position to be in. So let me give you some advice out there. If anybody's thinking of changing their title or giving yourself a nickname, do not go with the 'Be Kind Lady.'"

She went on to tell her audience that the version of her that appears on her talk show is only a small part of her personality. "I am also a lot of other things. I sometimes I get sad. I get mad. I get anxious. I get frustrated. I get impatient. And I am working on all of that. I am a work in progress and I'm especially working on the impatience thing because, and it's not going well because it's not happening fast enough," she shared. "I am a talk show host and you know that. But maybe some of you know I was an actress. I've played a straight woman in movies. So I'm a pretty good actress. I don't think that I'm that good that I could come out here every day for 17 years and fool you. This is me. And my intention is to always be the best person I can be. And if I've ever let someone down, if I've ever hurt their feelings, I am so sorry for that. If that's ever the case, I have let myself down and I've hurt myself as well, because I always try to grow as a person. I look at everything that comes into my life as an opportunity to learn. I got into this business to make people laugh and feel good."

When it comes to the workplace environment at The Ellen DeGeneres Show, DeGeneres says she will strive to make all 270 of her employees "happy and to be proud to work here." She continued: "This has been a horrible summer for people all around the world. People are losing their jobs. People are losing loved ones to a pandemic. People are losing their homes and lives in raging fires that are going on. There's blatant racial injustice all around us. I watched the news and I feel like where, where do we even begin? So my hope is that we can still be a place of happiness and joy. I still want to be the one hour a day that people can go to escape and laugh. I want to continue to help all the people that we help every day. And I'm committed to making this the best season that we have ever had."

Season 18 of The Ellen DeGeneres Show will continue to air on NBC this fall. Viewers will see appearances from Kerry Washington, Kris Jenner, The Social Dilemma's Tristan Harris and more this season.