The Ellen DeGeneres Show has responded to complaints from staff over a "toxic" work environment on the series.
Former and current employees claimed to BuzzFeed News that they faced racism, fear and intimidation on the show behind the scenes, saying that the "'be kind' bullshit" was "all for show".
Some alleged that they were fired for taking medical leave or bereavement days to attend family funerals, while one Black woman who worked on the show said she experienced racist comments, actions and microaggressions.
The latter claimed that when she raised this discrimination, her colleagues distanced themselves from her, adding: "Whenever I brought up an issue to my white male boss, he would bring up some random story about some random Black friend that he had and how they managed to get over stuff.
"He would use his Black friend as some way to say, 'I understand your struggle.' But it was all performative bullshit."
She also claimed she asked for a raise after discovering another recent hire made double her salary for doing the same job, though nothing happened and she was later reprimanded for objecting to the term "spirit animal", asking for a raise and making the suggestion that employees receive diversity and inclusion training. She left work that day and never returned.
"I feel like I'm not alone in this," she added. "We all feel this. We've been feeling this way, but I've been too afraid to say anything because everyone knows what happens when you say something as a Black person. You're blacklisted."
Another employee claimed that they returned to work after taking medical leave following a suicide attempt, though was told their position had been eliminated, while another said they were fired after taking time off on three occasions during a difficult year.
The former employees have also alleged that there is a divide between those employees who "drink the Kool-Aid" and are well-liked, and those who recognise a toxic environment – though some defended the work culture, claiming that it was typical of TV culture.
Responding to the allegations, executive producers Ed Glavin, Mary Connelly, and Andy Lassner said: "Over the course of nearly two decades, 3,000 episodes, and employing over 1,000 staff members, we have strived to create an open, safe, and inclusive work environment.
"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 realise, as many in the world are learning, that we need to do better, are committed to do better, and we will do better."
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