Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer spoke out on her experiences on The Ellen DeGeneres Show amid the toxic workplace environment allegations its producers face. Spencer voiced her support for host Ellen DeGeneres, while also acknowledging how important it is for employees to have their voices heard. Dozens of former employees have accused members of DeGeneres' behind-the-scenes staff of creating a hostile work environment and sexual harassment.
"Sending love and support to Ellen and all of the employees of her show," Spencer wrote on Instagram Thursday, alongside an old photo of DeGeneres. According to the Hidden Figures star, all of her own interactions with DeGeneres and other members of the show's staff were "supportive and fun," so, "in that spirit, I am praying all involved get the love and support they need." Spencer later edited the caption after it sparked a heated debate in the comments.
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Spencer said she believes "all of the voices of her employees need to be heard. Past and present. Speaking truth to power is the only way change happens." However, her "personal" truth is that everyone was "kind" to her whenever she was on Ellen. "So yeah! I want all of those people to feel valued and heard. And no, people are NOT always kind to talent," Spencer wrote. She included the hashtags "all voices need to be heard" and "be kind to one another."
Spencer is the latest celebrity to show support for DeGeneres, following Katy Perry, Jay Leno, Alec Baldwin, and others. However, some celebrities have supported the former employees who have accused behind-the-scenes staff of wrongdoing. Everybody Loves Raymond star Brad Garrett shared a tweet with DeGeneres' apology, adding "common knowledge." Back to the Future star, Lea Thompson agreed, adding, "True story." Two months before BuzzFeed News published the article that led to WarnerMedia's investigation, YouTube star Nikkie de Jager described the show as "Teletubbies after dark," and claimed she was not even greeted by DeGeneres herself.
Stephen "tWitch" Boss, who has served as DeGeneres' DJ since 2014, also spoke about his own experiences on the show, although he could not "legally" go into details. "Obviously there's some things to address, but from my standpoint and from countless others, there's been love," Boss said. "I'll just leave it at that until there's a time where we can address more publicly. There's been love and there will continue to be love."
WarnerMedia launched its investigation into Ellen late last month after former employees and one current staffer spoke with BuzzFeed News about their negative experiences on the show. DeGeneres later apologized to staff in a letter, vowing to make changes. "As we've grown exponentially, I've not been able to stay on top of everything and relied on others to do their jobs as they knew I'd want them done. Clearly some didn't," DeGeneres wrote. "That will now change and I'm committed to ensuring this does not happen again."