More allegations were made against “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” not long after the talk-show host addressed claims of a “toxic work environment” in an internal letter.
Buzzfeed published another piece claiming dozens of former employees — men and women — had told them the “Ellen” office was “a place where sexual harassment and misconduct by top executive producers runs rampant.”
Some of the former employees accused head writer and executive producer Kevin Leman of sexual misconduct, with one saying: “It’s masked in sarcasm, but it’s not sarcasm.”
“He’d probably do it in front of 10 people and they’d laugh because ‘It’s just Kevin being Kevin,’ but if you’re in a position of power at a company, you don’t just get to touch me like that,” a former employee added.
Leman categorically denied “any kind of sexual impropriety” in a statement to the publication.
The piece also claimed the senior producers would regularly make sexually explicit comments in the office, stating many of the targets were “lower-level and younger employees who felt they lacked any power to speak up.”
Executive producer Ed Glavin was also accused of misconduct by numerous people, with Buzzfeed alleging there were reports doing the rounds that it was likely he’d be let go from the show.
Glavin “had a reputation for being handsy with women,” especially in the control room, and managed the team through fear and intimidation, the piece claimed.
“You could definitely see the creep factor and the creepy touching. That was out in the open for everybody to see,” one former employee, who said Glavin regularly touched her in the control room, told the publication.
“Obviously, no one wants that and no one wants to be uncomfortably touched by someone… but you didn’t want to p**s them off or you would be fired, so it was just that culture of fear.”
“We’re young people who were forming our careers and were unfortunately subjected to a toxic work environment as some of our first jobs out of college,” a former employee said. “And some of us were sexually harassed and that’s what was shaping our careers our first year out of school.”
Warner Bros. failed to comment on the specific allegations but did release a new statement.
It “hoped to determine the validity and extent of publicly reported allegations and to understand the full breadth of the show’s day-to-day culture.”
“It was important to both Warner Bros. and Ellen that as many people as possible attached to the program could be heard,” the statement went on. “’The Ellen DeGeneres Show’ is, and has always strived to be, a place that brings positivity to the world. And though not all of the allegations were corroborated, we are disappointed that the primary findings of the investigation indicated some deficiencies related to the show’s day-to-day management. We have identified several staffing changes, along with appropriate measures to address the issues that have been raised, and are taking the first steps to implement them.”
The latest claims come after DeGeneres reached out to members of the show’s staff in an internal letter obtained by The Hollywood Reporter.
“On Day 1 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,” DeGeneres’ letter included. “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.”
ET Canada has contacted DeGeneres’ rep for comment.