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Ellen Show Fires Three Top Producers Amid ‘Toxic’ Workplace Scandal

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Ellen Show Fires Three Top Producers Amid 'Toxic' Workplace ScandalPA Images/Warner Bros.

The Ellen DeGeneres Show has dropped three senior producers following an investigation into its ‘toxic’ workplace. 

Executive producers Ed Glavin and Kevin Leman, and co-executive producer Jonathan Norman were ousted from the show as Warner Bros. investigated complaints against showrunners, with accusations of racism, miscommunication, sexual harassment and a culture of ‘fear’.

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Fellow producers Mary Connelly, Andy Lassner and Derek Westervelt, who have been working on the show since its first episode in 2003, will remain, alongside host Ellen DeGeneres.

Jonathan Norman, Mary Connelly, Andy Lassner, Kevin Leman, Ed Glavin.PA Images

The 62-year-old presenter revealed the news to employees during a staff video meeting on Monday, August 17. As well as pledging to make ’rounds to smaller chats’ with other workers, Ellen said she’s ‘not perfect’ and conceded to the show’s producers not being particularly sensitive during production, as Variety reports.

In an email obtained by BuzzFeed News, David McGuire, executive vice president of programming at Warner Bros., wrote:

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We promised you change and a new culture, and we are absolutely committed to that. Many of you have spoken with WarnerMedia’s investigators, and we thank you for your honesty. And though the investigation is nearing its conclusion, our willingness to confidentially hear your thoughts is ongoing.

We heard loud and clear that communication needs to be better, at every level. The EPs are already taking steps to make our communication more frequent and effective. I hope this note is another way we are showing our commitment to do better.

Ellen DeGeneresWarner Bros.

The scandal emerged via separate reports from the two publications, with staffers coming forward to share their accounts of ‘microaggressions’ and five former employees alleging Glavin touched them in a way that made them uncomfortable, with a ‘reputation for being handsy with women’.

Glavin has yet to comment publicly on the claims, while Leman has denied ‘any kind of sexual impropriety’ and Norman said he was ‘100% categorically denying these allegations’.

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Ellen DeGeneres Speaks Out For First Time Following Toxic Workplace ClaimsPA Images

Lemon was reportedly known for making sexual comments in the office, asking employees: ‘Are you a top or a bottom?’ as well as allegedly soliciting an ex-worker for oral sex and groping several others. Another former employee said she witnessed him grope a production assistant in a car and kiss his neck.

In an earlier letter, seen by US Weekly, Ellen wrote that in the first meeting for the show, she claimed it ‘would be a place of happiness – no one would ever raise their voice, and everyone would be treated with respect’.

Ellen DeGeneres SHow 4Warner Bros.
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Ellen added:

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.

I’m also learning that people who work with me and for me are speaking on my behalf and misrepresenting who I am and that has to stop. As someone who was judged and nearly lost everything for just being who I am, I truly understand and have deep compassion for those being looked at differently, or treated unfairly, not equal, or – worse – disregarded. To think that any one of you felt that way is awful to me.

One former employee told BuzzFeed News that this was the ‘only way that that place is ever going to change, or the culture is ever going to change… it’s a relief that people spoke up and people listened and decided to take action. It feels like justice has been served in some way’.

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Topics: Film and TV, Complaint, Ellen DeGeneres, Now, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, TV

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Variety and 2 others
Cameron Frew
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