Many people online are calling for Ellen DeGeneres to be held accountable after reports first published by BuzzFeed News laid bare an alleged culture of racism, fear, and intimidation behind the scenes of her show. They are claiming the comedian is ultimately responsible as the face of the show, which she has hosted since its launch in 2003.
Accounts from past and present employees shared exclusively with BuzzFeed News detailed various alleged examples of casual racism, bullying, and inappropriate behavior by senior production staff, all of which DeGeneres denied having any knowledge of.
In an apology letter sent to staff, the 62-year-old expressed regrets at what had become of the culture at her show, which she says was founded on the principle of “happiness” and “respect.”
“As we’ve grown exponentially, I’ve not been able to stay on top of everything and relied on others to do their jobs as they knew I’d want them done. Clearly some didn’t," she wrote.
The show is now under internal investigation by WarnerMedia. Meanwhile, additional reporting by BuzzFeed News has since revealed allegations of sexual harassment against senior figures. People online have questioned just how far removed from the day-to-day operations DeGeneres actually was.
One user online wrote: “Anyone with office experience knows the culture and climate is established at the top. @TheEllenShow is no different. Ellen Degeneres is responsible for any sexist, racist, demeaning and intimidating behavior at her show. And she contributes to it all.”
Another wrote on Twitter: “@TheEllenShow pretending she had no idea this toxic environment existed on her own show is ridiculous. Workplace culture starts at the top- at best she shows no leadership, at worst she enabled this behavior it continues; her employees taking the fall for her to fake ignorance.”
The various testimonies, which have painted an allegedly damning image of the talk show host and senior production executives, have led some people online to question the future of the show.
One commentator wrote: “I truly appreciate what Ellen has done in the past, I think overall her existence as a tv personality has done significantly much more good for society than damage but I think it's about time she phases out her show.”
For most people commenting online, all of the allegations subsequently come back to DeGeneres and her leadership or lack thereof.
"Workplace culture starts at the top," they concluded.