Jay Leno has joined the rank-and-file celebrities who've come to the defense of Ellen DeGeneres. On Tuesday, the former Tonight Show host said that his "40-year-friendship" to DeGeneres was more important to him than "hearsay."
The "hearsay" in question refers to multiple allegations from both current and former staff members that DeGeneres helped to foster a toxic work environment. The accusations themselves are tinged with irony, given that DeGeneres has built a brand around the mantra of being kind. The allegations prompted producers to announce that they would be "addressing" the claims. Meanwhile, WarnerMedia also launched an investigation into the show last week.
I don’t discard a 40-year friendship on hearsay. The Ellen I know has raised over $125 million dollars for charity and has always been a kind and decent person. I fully support her. Jay Leno pic.twitter.com/b3i283YIBk— Jay Leno (@jayleno) August 4, 2020
Leno joins fellow celebrities including singer Katy Perry, producer Scooter Braun, actor Ashton Kutcher and DeGeneres' brother Vance, who have all defended the host. Kutcher tweeted that he "can only speak from my own experience," but said that DeGeneres "and her team have only treated me and my team [with] respect and kindness. She never pandered to celebrity, which I always saw as a refreshing honesty. When things aren't right she handles it and fixes."
Senior producers and members of The Ellen DeGeneres Show creative team returned to work recently, while the remaining 140 staffers will be slowly returning after the show's annual summer break. Telepictures, which produces the show, and distributor Warner Bros. Television have told staff that parent company WarnerMedia's employee relations and third-party investigators will interview staffers about their individual experiences working on the show.
Executive producer Ed Glavin will reportedly be among the senior producers leaving following the investigation, given that he was at the center of some of the more egregious claims. BuzzFeed News, who dropped the original bombshell, also reported that former staffers had accused him of sexual harassment and that he had a "reputation for being handsy with women."
An insider also told Us Weekly that he show's current staffers are reportedly "freaking out" and are worried that the host will quit her show, which could lead to its cancellation. "The show feels done. It's going to be very hard to turn this around." However, executive producer Andy Lassner tweeted to a fan on Twitter on July 30, "nobody is going off the air."