How Ellen DeGeneres Avoided Being Fired After Toxic Workplace Investigation

Ellen DeGeneres has been under heavy scrutiny in past weeks after allegations of behind-the-scenes behavior on her show. While many celebrities spoke out in support, many joined fans in being critical of the host and the environment she stood atop of in their opinion. Everybody Loves Raymond star Brad Garrett said the situation was well known and that the trouble usually starts at the top.

If that's true, how did DeGeneres avoid the ax after three of her producers were let go from the series? While Wednesday saw the three behind-the-scenes names were sent home following the investigation by WarnerMedia. DeGeneres was left untouched and offered an apology to those affected and promised to have more oversight in the culture at the show.

"I'm glad the issues at our show were brought to my attention. I promise to do my part in continuing to push myself and everyone around me to learn and grow," Ellen said. But as Terri Gerstein, director of the State and Local Enforcement Project at the Harvard Labor and Worklife Program, writes for NBC News, onlookers shouldn't be surprised by Ellen DeGeneres or her show spared by the network.

Echoing Garrett's comments, "the head honcho" is typically the responsible party for the culture and environment on set or the job site. But she's also the star of the show and the personality the entire show has been built around. According to Gerstein, she also fell into the same situation as many famous leaders and CEOs in the past.

Gerstein compares the comedian host to CEOs, both modern and historical, including Henry Ford and Donald Trump's former labor secretary pick Andrew Puzder. He was CEO of CKE Restaurants, parent to Hardee's ad Carl's Jr, and once said, "robots make better employees than people because they're always on time, don't take vacations and never sue the company."

The piece from Gerstein also dives into what is needed on the broader labor discussions and changes that need to happen, using Ellen DeGeneres as a jumping point. This includes having a culture that isn't nurtured through fear and doesn't punish speaking up by employees.


DeGeneres addressed the controversy and the exit of the three producers in a video apology on Monday. The host noted that she "wasn't perfect" but she seemed willing to ensure change did come to the show after the allegations.

"I'm a multi-layered person, and I try to be the best person I can be and I try to learn from my mistakes," DeGeneres said. "I'm hearing that some people felt that I wasn't kind or too short with them, or too impatient. I apologize to anybody if I've hurt your feelings in any way."