Tony Okungbowa, a DJ on The Ellen DeGeneres Show for several years, is coming forward about the "toxicity" he saw on set amid an ongoing internal investigation into the behind-the-scenes environment of the daytime show. Okungbowa, now appearing on CBS' Bob Hearts Abishola, shared a statement on Instagram Tuesday addressing the allegations of harassment and an unhealthy work environment leveled by numerous current and former employees of the show.
"Hey Guys, I hope you are all keeping safe out there during these trying times. I have been getting calls asking me about the Ellen DeGeneres Show and I would like to address the time I spent there," Okungbowa captioned a photo of himself DJing on the show. "I was on air talent from 2003-2006 and from 2007-2013. While I am grateful for the opportunity it afforded me, I did experience and feel the toxicity of the environment and I stand with my former colleagues in their quest to create a healthier and more inclusive workplace as the show moves forward."
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Late last month, WarnerMedia announced it would be launching an investigation into the working environment on DeGeneres' show after one current and 10 former employees spoke with BuzzFeed News about their experiences on the show, alleging there were instances of harassment and racism stemming from the executive producing staff. Since then, a number of DeGeneres' friends have come forward in support for the comedian, including her wife, Portia de Rossi, as well as Katy Perry and Kevin Hart.
As news of the investigation launched, DeGeneres apologized for the environment that had been cultivated on set in a memo to her employees. "On day one of our show, I told everyone in our first meeting that The Ellen DeGeneres Show would be a place of happiness – no one would ever raise their voice, and everyone would be treated with respect," she wrote. "Obviously, something changed, and I am disappointed to learn that this has not been the case. And for that, I am sorry. Anyone who knows me knows it’s the opposite of what I believe and what I hoped for our show."
"My name is on the show and everything we do and I take responsibility for that," she wrote, adding that as her public commitments have grown "exponentially," she has "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." The host wrote that "clearly some didn’t," and promised that these things "will now change and I’m committed to ensuring this does not happen again."