Amid the ongoing fallout surrounding a toxic workplace environment investigation and multiple allegations levied against numerous producers, a former Ellen DeGeneres Show staffer is claiming the atmosphere on set was a lot like a scene out of The Devil Wears Prada. In a report via an Australian radio show, Stav, Abby & Matt, a former camera assistant — who remained anonymous during the interview — compared the working environment to that of the 2006 film, based on the novel of the same name about a college graduate working for a tyrannical fashion editor.
During the interview, the former staff member alluded to a tense environment with nervous employees. "I worked there for a little over a year," they said. "It's kind of like The Devil Wears Prada. Everyone is trying to make it to the [end of a] year. It's just a badge of honor to have that and have it on your resume."
The ex-employee went on to talk about their interactions with DeGeneres, revealing they weren't even allowed in the same room as her. "Most people are told, 'When Ellen enters the room, you and your entire crew need to leave.' Sometimes her bodyguards come forward first and you kind of see them and you know to leave and that's it." Further noting the importance of hearing out all the victims in sharing their truth and allegations against the producers, the source added how DeGeneres most likely has any idea of "what's going on in her own show at all," revealing the host also has "no idea" who everyone is on set.
Sharing the "internal sort of message" about the show and its attitude, the former employee adds how they were often told there is a "lineup" for every employee's job and that "if you don't like it here, you can leave." When asked by the radio show hosts if there was a "responsibility" of the former staffers to just leave if they didn't enjoy their time there instead of enduring it, the ex-worker adds that with TV being a hard industry, it's not just a ladder for a lot of people working on set, but boils down the principle of "basic rights" in the workplace.
While the show is currently on a summer break, it is set to return this September. Many of The Ellen DeGeneres Show's senior creatives and producers are now preparing for the show's fall return, according to Variety. More than 100 members of the show's personnel will be returning in stages over the next few weeks amid the ongoing pandemic. Season 18 of The Ellen DeGeneres Show is set to premiere on Sept. 9.
This past summer, executives from both show producer Telepictures and distributor Warner Bros. sent out a letter to staff members, letting them know an investigation into the workplace environment on DeGeneres' talk show was being launched. Their memo notes how they sought out the help of a third-party firm and WBTV-owner WarnerMedia's employee relations group to investigate this matter. The investigation entails interviews with former and current staffers about their experiences on set.
The Ellen DeGeneres Show has been at the center of a long list of allegations raised by employees, past and present, many of which include experiences of racism in the form of microaggressions and intimidation, as well as an exposé from Buzzfeed alleging how one executive producer "had a reputation for being handsy with women," and that another solicited oral sex at a work party.