As WarnerMedia’s investigation into allegations of workplace misconduct at “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” continue, Variety reports that producers have been talking with staffers about their experiences.
According to the outlet, the show’s “senior creatives and producers are back at work this week, with the 140 or so personnel at ‘Ellen’ gradually returning in stages” as the show’s usual summer hiatus ends.
While the new season of “Ellen” is scheduled to premiere on Sept. 9, with DeGeneres expected to return to her studio, there’s no word yet on whether the show will be taping with a studio audience.
Meanwhile, some entertainment industry experts spoke with Variety about the difficulties DeGeneres faces with the controversy, given that the allegations run so contrary to the brand she’s built up over the decades.
“What makes it difficult, with the kind of crisis this is, is it’s not an acute problem”, said Ketchum senior VP of issues and crisis management Andrew Moesel. “It’s more a challenge to her entire brand ethos, which is as a friendly, relatable person next door, which is really the way that viewers perceive her and her value as an entertainer.”
As a result, the allegations “create a sizeable crack in the impression of her as a friendly, next-door neighbour that you’re spending your afternoon with,” he added.
Meanwhile, entertainment publicist Danny Deraney told Variety that he’d been hearing complaints about DeGeneres “for years,” with some even coming from people who had worked on her show.
“I think Ellen has had a problem with reading the room lately,” he said, referring to the furor that erupted when she jokingly compared quarantining in her multimillion-dollar mansion to being in “prison,” in addition to being blindsided by the predictable anger when she was spotted hanging at an NFL game with former President George W. Bush — who was no ally to the LGBTQ community during his two terms in office.
“She has an image problem that clearly is going to need some work to salvage any kind of momentum that she has earned over this time or any kind of positive reputation that she has,” added Deraney. “There’s a lot of negativity surrounding her and her show, and it starts by offering a better apology and taking ownership of what she’s done, and really being better.”