Scooter Braun, the music entrepreneur and manager for both Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande, defended Ellen DeGeneres, whose daytime talk show is in the midst of a toxic workplace scandal. Her executive producers have been accused of creating a difficult work environment, with some former employees accusing them of sexual harassment. DeGeneres issued an apology to current staff members, vowing to make changes.
In his Twitter defense, Braun said people "love to take shots" and "see people fall" and called DeGeneres a "kind, thoughtful, courageous human being who stands for what is right and highlights on her show the best of us." The comedian has "helped change the views for equality," Braun wrote Friday. "Needed to say this as I know first hand how she helps so many when we are watching and when we are not. She isn’t about what is popular she is about what is right. Sending love to Ellen today."
Needed to say this as I know first hand how she helps so many when we are watching and when we are not. She isn’t about what is popular she is about what is right. Sending love to Ellen today.— Scooter Braun (@scooterbraun) July 31, 2020
After BuzzFeed News published allegations of the "toxic" work environment her executive producers created behind the scenes early last month, WarnerMedia launched an investigation. On Thursday, DeGeneres apologized to her crew in a letter published by The Hollywood Reporter. Warner Bros. has not commented on who will be fired, but executive producer Ed Glavin is expected to be terminated. He is at the center of the harshest allegations and faces sexual harassment allegations in a BuzzFeed News report published late Thursday.
Former staffers told BuzzFeed News they were subject to several instances of sexual harassment and misconduct from Glavin and executive producer Kevin Leman. Leman denied the allegations, telling BuzzFeed, "In my whole time on the show, to my knowledge, I've never had a single HR or inter-personal complaint made about me, and I am devastated beyond belief that this kind of malicious and misleading article could be published." Another employee accused co-executive producer Jonathan Norman of "grooming" him and trying to perform oral sex on him. Norman denied these allegations.
In her message Thursday, DeGeneres said she will take steps with Warner Bros. to "correct the issues." As the show has grown in popularity over the past 17 years, DeGeneres said she has not been able to personally keep tabs on everything. "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," the comedian wrote. "That will now change and I'm committed to ensuring this does not happen again."
There has been speculation about The Ellen DeGeneres Show's future, but executive producer Andy Lassner told a fan on Twitter "nobody is going off the air." However, a Telepictures insider told The Daily Mail that DeGeneres might walk away from the show herself because the scandal has left irreversible damage to her brand. "The truth is she knew what was going on, it's her show," the insider claimed. "The buck stops with her. She can blame every executive under the sun – but Ellen is ultimately the one to blame."