Ellen DeGeneres assured fans that she is going to address her workplace mistreatment controversy when her show returns this fall. The talk show host has been accused of fostering a "toxic environment" for employees on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and has issued some apologies already. However, with the show's Sept. 21 return date approaching, she will soon be addressing it on air as well.
"I can't wait to get back to work and back to our studio," DeGeneres said in a press release on Tuesday. "And, yes, we're gonna talk about it." That "it" seems to refer to the controversy about DeGeneres' treatment of her employees, which reached a fever pitch over the summer. It began with a BuzzFeed News report citing dozens of former employees, who said that DeGeneres' "be kind" mantra is disingenuous. Backstage, they claimed the comedian facilitated a workplace full of sexual harassment, racism and mean-spirited jokes.
Fans feared that DeGeneres' show might be canceled as these allegations reached a crescendo over the last few months. While it did warrant an internal investigation by WarnerMedia and some staffing changes, the show will go on. The new season premieres on Monday, Sept. 21.
DeGeneres is reportedly intent on redeeming herself with both her staff and her audience. She has already issued apologies both publicly and privately, and now she will address the controversy on-air as well.
The show will not be all somber, however. Tuesday's press release revealed that DeGeneres' first guest of the season would be comedian Tiffany Haddish — who revealed that she has already survived COVID-19. Other guests include Kerry Washington, Alec Baldwin, Chrissy Teigen, Chris Rock, Amy Schumer, Adam Sandler and Orlando Bloom.
Still, DeGeneres' reputation will likely suffer long-term damage from this summer's slew of revelations, especially since new ones are still coming out. On Tuesday, a former staffer from DeGeneres' home gave a new interview with The Daily Mail, saying that DeGeneres "ran her household like a boot camp" and took "pleasure" in firing people.
Following the investigation, WarnerMedia has reportedly fired three top-level producers on DeGeneres' show and increased employee perks to try to smooth things over. This fall, there will also be episodes guest-hosted by DeGeneres' DJ, Stephen "tWitch" Boss, who has been made a co-executive producer. The Ellen DeGeneres Show returns for Season 18 on Monday, Sept. 21.