Ellen DeGeneres opened season 18 of her embattled daytime talk show by addressing head on the reports that have run all summer of a toxic workplace at the Warner Bros.-produced strip, managing to weave humor into an apology.
“If you’re watching because you love me, thank you, if you’re watching because you don’t love me, welcome!” DeGeneres said from the stage at her show’s studio in front of a virtual audience.
She didn’t take long to get to the point: “I learned that things happened here that never should have happened. I take that very seriously and I want to say I am so sorry to the people who were affected. I know that I am in a position of privilege and power and I realize that with that comes responsibility and I take responsibility for what happens at my show,” DeGeneres said.
“We have had a lot of conversations over the last few weeks about the show, our workplace, and what we want for the future. We have made the necessary changes and today we are starting a new chapter,” she said.
Over the summer, Warner Bros. conducted an investigation into the show after reports surfaced in publications such as BuzzFeed and Variety in which former and current crew members said incidents of racism and harassment were not uncommon. As a result, Warner Bros. conducted an investigation and fired three executive producers: Ed Glavin, Kevin Leman and Jonathan Norman.
“There were also articles that said I am not the person you see on TV because I am known as the ‘Be Kind Lady.’ Being known as the Be Kind Lady is a tricky position to be in so let me give you some advice out there: if anyone is thinking of taking on a new title or giving yourself a new nickname, don’t go with the Be Kind Lady, don’t do it,” DeGeneres said.
“The truth is I am that person that you see on TV but I am also a lot of other things. Sometimes I get sad, I get mad, I get anxious, I get frustrated, I get impatient and I am working on all of that. I’m especially working on the impatience thing and it’s not going well, it’s not going fast enough.”
“I got into business to make people laugh and feel good, that’s my favorite thing to do. My hope is that we can still be a place of happiness and joy. I still want to be the one hour a day where people can go to escape and laugh. I still want to help all the people that we help every day and I am committed to making this the best season that we have ever had.”
DeGeneres also announced on the show that the show’s deejay, Stephen “Twitch” Boss, is now a co-executive producer. The promotion was reported earlier this summer.
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Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997-September 2002.