Ellen DeGeneres is back in the studio for Season 18 of her talk show and addressing the allegations of a toxic workplace culture that launched internal investigation by WarnerMedia over the summer. Released ahead of the full syndicated broadcast Monday, DeGeneres opened with an apology for what had happened and acknowledged she is a "work in progress" when it comes to her own behavior.
"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 that were affected," DeGeneres began. "I know that I’m in a position of privilege and power, and I realize that with that comes responsibility, and I take responsibility for what happens at my show. This is The Ellen DeGeneres Show. I am Ellen DeGeneres."
While she did not address specific allegations of racism and sexual harassment from staff behind the scenes, DeGeneres said the show has "made the necessary changes" to the show, adding, "Today, we are starting a new chapter." The comedian then went on to address allegations that her own behavior off-screen didn't align with her on-screen espoused values of kindness.
"The truth is, I am that person that you see on TV. I am also a lot of other things," she explained. "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." Adding she doesn't think she would be a good enough actress to "fool" audiences every day for 17 years, DeGeneres apologized, "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’m so sorry for that."
Disturbing stories from the set of The Ellen DeGeneres Show surfaced in a BuzzFeed News story over the summer, including current and former staffers who alleged instances of racism and sexual misconduct behind the scenes, as well as an overall unhealthy work culture. Executive producers Ed Glavin, Kevin Leman and Jonathan Norman, all of whom were named in the allegations, were fired by the show after an internal investigation, while veteran producers Mary Connelly, Andy Lassner and Derek Westervelt were named executive producers alongside DeGeneres. The show's longtime resident DJ, Stephen “tWitch” Boss, was also named a co-executive producer.