Ellen DeGeneres began season 18 of her talk show on Monday with a long apology dealing with reports describing her as a boss who ran a toxic workplace.
“If you’re watching because you love me, thank you,” Ms. DeGeneres said on her return from a summer break. “And if you’re watching because you don’t love me, welcome.”
The hostess, wearing a white blazer, jeans and her signature white sneakers, turned to the rows of seats with screens showing virtual viewers. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, viewers are banned from entering her studio in Burbank, California.
“As you may have heard this summer, there were allegations of a toxic work environment at our show,” said Ms. DeGeneres. “And then there was an investigation. I’ve learned that things happen here that should never have happened. I take this very seriously. And I want to say that those affected are so sorry. I know that I am in a position of privilege and power. And I realized that there was responsibility involved, and I took responsibility for what happened at my trade fair. “
In July, BuzzFeed News reported that Former employees of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” said they experienced “racism, fear and intimidation” on the program and have been fired after taking medical leave or bereavement time off. A former black employee said she was the victim of racist comments from employees.
Warner Bros., the studio that distributes the syndicated program, and its subsidiary Telepictures opened an internal investigation. Three high-ranking producers in August were released: Ed Glavin, an executive producer; Jonathan Norman, co-executive producer; and Kevin Leman, the chief author.
The Ellen DeGeneres Show, launched in 2003, has been a boon to Warner Bros., part of AT & T’s WarnerMedia entertainment division. Last year, Ms. DeGeneres signed a contract to keep her on the program until 2022. She also signed a contract to do new shows for HBO Max, the WarnerMedia streaming service. Ms. DeGeneres also hosts a Warner Bros. game show, “Ellen’s Game of Games,” which is a mainstay for NBC during prime time.
During the monologue posted on her show’s social media accounts, Ms. DeGeneres, 62, referred to “articles in the press and social media that said I am not who I am on TV his seem “.
“The truth is, I am the person you see on TV,” she continued. “I am many other things too. Sometimes I get sad, I get angry, I get scared, I get frustrated, I get impatient. And I’m working on that. I am at work. “
The apology on the air followed two excuses – one by e-mail, the other during a video conference – which she had given her employees in the summer.
In her remarks on Monday, Ms. DeGeneres, one of the first television stars to announce she was gay, also referred to how she had spent years of her acting career, often playing straight women.
“So, I’m a pretty good actress, but I don’t think I’m that good that I could come out here every day for 17 years and fool you,” she said. “I am. And my intention is always to be the best person I can be. And if I’ve ever let someone down, if I’ve ever hurt their feelings, I’m so sorry.”
Ms. DeGeneres introduced Stephen Laurel to Boss, the DJ known as tWitch, and noted that he was now co-executive producer on the show. After a quick chat with him, she told her virtual viewers that she would give each of them a 65-inch TV. She then introduced her first guest of her new season, actress Tiffany Haddish.