Previously known for being friendly and funny, Ellen DeGeneres continues to now make headlines for seemingly being serious and, by various account, really sucky.
Amid an endless array of reports that detail how both DeGeneres and the producers of her talk show treat crew members in a really awful manner, media executive Neil Breen has now chimed in with his own story.
And it doesn’t paint Ellen in a very positive light.
“When Ellen DeGeneres came to Australia to do her show in 2013, I was the executive producer of the Today show, so we partnered with them,” the journalist said on his radio show, 4BC Breakfast With Neil Breen, on Tuesday.
“Originally she was going to cohost the Today show, then she was going to do this, then she was going to do that.
“The whole thing got watered down to Ellen DeGeneres would do a sit-down interview.”
He then explained that he and his team went to Melbourne “at our expense” to shoot the segment with veteran presenter Richard Wilkins interviewing DeGeneres.
This is when things got REALLY weird.
“Because it’s the Ellen show, they controlled everything. They controlled the interview seats, the lights, how it would work, everything,” Breen recalled.
“The producers called us aside and said, ‘This is how it’s going to work here this morning. Ellen’s going to arrive at 10:15, and she’ll be sitting in this chair.
“‘And Richard, you’ll be sitting in this chair here. Neil, no one’s to talk to Ellen. You don’t talk to her, you don’t approach her, you don’t look at her.
“‘She’ll come in, she’ll sit down, she’ll talk to Richard, then Ellen will leave.’”
Such behavior by DeGeneres would have seemed wildly out of character just a few months ago.
But just as the COVID-19 pandemic hit, one report after another came out that outlined how Ellen and other executives created a toxic work environment at her talk show.
The most scathing of these reports was published two weeks ago by Buzzfeed News.
It quoted one current and 10 former employees, all of whom shared harrowing tales of their interactions with Ellen’s producers, Ed Glavin, Mary Connelly and Andy Lassner.
According to a Black woman who worked on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, she experienced what she described as “microaggressions” and was “reprimanded” by Galvin.
All because she asked for a raise and suggested staff members undergo diversity and inclusion training.
Breen, for his part, told listeners on Tuesday that he “found the whole thing bizarre,” but he is “not blaming Ellen” for her staff members’ demands.
“I didn’t get to talk to her,” he emphasized.
“I wasn’t allowed to. I don’t know if she’s a nice person or not. I wouldn’t have a clue.
“But I can tell you, the people who worked with her walked on eggshells the whole time.”
As a result of all these troubling complaints, WarnerMedia launched an internal investigation into The Ellen DeGeneres Show earlier this month.
In response to the allegations, the producers cited above released a statement several days ago that reads as follows…
We are truly heartbroken and sorry to learn that even one person in our production family has had a negative experience.
It’s not who we are and not who we strive to be, and not the mission Ellen has set for us.
For the record, the day to day responsibility of the Ellen show is completely on us. We take all of this very seriously and we realize, as many in the world are learning, that we need to do better.
[We are] committed to do better, and we will do better.
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