The past few months haven’t been rosy for Ellen DeGeneres. After allegations of having a toxic workplace culture, The Ellen DeGeneres Show went through a lot of public scrutinies and a reshuffle from Warner Bros. Now, Ellen has finally addressed her staff after the digital employees of her show were laid off. This happened amid Warner Bros. restructuring.
Ellen DeGeneres addresses her staff after mass layoffs
Buzzfeed News reported that Ellen Digital Ventures, a digital extension of The Ellen DeGeneres Show responsible for Ellentube and other original video content, has laid off 17 people out of their team of 80. After the mass laying off, Ellen DeGeneres, accompanied by executive producers Andy Lassner and Mary Connelly, and David McGuire addressed the remaining staff. Ellen said:
I obviously as am heartbroken as everybody, but we have to know that this is all for the good of EDV, and we need to keep this going because we have such a great team and we believe in y’all, and we will get through this just like we’ve gotten through all kinds of other things. Know that we believe in you and I know this is hard for y’all to hear, and we are here for you.
Furthermore, Ellen also told the employees that it’s “really important” they continue expanding the show’s digital presence. She further said:
That’s really something that I intend on having long after the show is gone. That’s our focus. To keep growing our content the way we’ve grown it. We’re on a path to do really, really well, and we should be proud. You should be proud of what you’ve done and what you’ve accomplished.
Furthermore, Lassner also addressed the crowd. He stressed on “moving forward” and that they need to “turn the tide” after taking a hit from COVID-19. Later, Connely also told the staff that the layoffs left her in “shock” initially. However, she later realized that this was happening across the board to all businesses.
The Ellen DeGeneres Show is losing viewers and ratings
During these mass layoffs, many employees were paranoid that they’re going to get the ax. There was an air of paranoia, especially considering how the show was underperforming. The viewers on social media pages were down and so was the show’s rating. Furthermore, Ellen Digital also scaled down on future productions due to fewer advertisers. One employee even told Buzzfeed:
Everyone here feels like the sky is falling.
They further talked about how The Ellen DeGeneres Show is losing sponsors more because of the controversy of sexual harassment and casual racism in the workplace. They said:
Brands we were approaching were uneasy about being sponsors for this season because our organization is not a ‘be kind’ brand they thought it was. It could be COVID-related, but it also felt like a lot of fallout from the stories over the summer. It’s a combination and perfect storm of all of it and how one played into the next.
Moreover, an employee even alleged that the layoffs may be “retribution” from the producers against employees who spoke over the summer against Ellen DeGeneres on allegations of a toxic work environment.
Allegations of a toxic workplace environment
Across the summer, allegations of toxic workplace culture embroiled The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Various former employees came forward and accused the show’s producers of sexual harassment and casual racism. As a result, there was a toxic work environment on the show that made the employees’ lives miserable. Many employees came forward on multiple occasions and exposed the show’s toxic work environment. It shattered Ellen’s “nice lady” image and prompted an internal investigation by the Warner Bros. studios themselves. They didn’t find any evidence of structural racism or sexism, however, they did fire three top executives.
Once the problems were dealt with, Ellen DeGeneres returned to the show and addressed the allegations in front of the audience. However, that apology was not able to satisfy many ex-employees, who called it fake. Since then, the show’s ratings have dropped significantly.
You can read the full report from Buzzfeed on the mass layoffs here.