The Ellen DeGeneres Show returned for its 18th season to a virtual studio audience on the Warner Brothers Studio lot in Burbank, Calif., Monday. The show’s return marked the first time since allegations of a toxic work environment on the show were disclosed earlier this year in Buzzfeed News magazine and in a series of Twitter threads by former staffers.
DeGeneres opened the show joking; “If you’re watching because you love me, thank you. If you’re watching because you don’t love me, welcome.” She then deadpanned that she had a “great summer – super terrific.”
Immediately addressing the issues that had plagued her as well as show executives DeGeneres noted “I take this very seriously and I want to say I’m so sorry to the people it affected,” and then added that the studio’s investigation had led to “the necessary changes” being made.
Warner Brothers Studio distributes the Ellen Show and recently fired three of its producers amid allegations of misconduct and sexual harassment towards other employees. A spokesperson for Warner Brothers confirmed to the Washington Blade that the studio had “parted ways” with executive producers Ed Glavin and Kevin Leman, and co-executive producer Jonathan Norman, in August.
Speaking to the camera DeGeneres addressed the misconduct and sexual harassment allegations that emerged both online and in the Buzzfeed reporting.” I learned that things happened that should never have happened,” she said. “If I’ve ever let someone down, if I’ve ever hurt their feelings, I am sorry for that.”
She acknowledged that she was “privileged” and as “a person in a position of power and privilege,” what happened to the staff of the show and others was ultimately her responsibility.
“I know that I’m in a position of privilege and power, and I realize that with that comes responsibility, and I take responsibility for what happens at my show,” DeGeneres said. “We have made the necessary changes and today we’re starting a new chapter.”
Addressing the Buzzfeed and Twitter allegations DeGeneres said, “the truth is that I am the person that you see on your TV.” She added: “I am also a lot of other things. Sometimes I am sad, I get mad, I get anxious, I get frustrated, I get impatient and I am working on all of that. I am a work in progress.”
She also announced that her in-studio Disc Jockey, “Twitch”, had been promoted to the show’s co-executive producer.
The Ellen Show has garnered 60 Daytime Emmy Awards since it first aired in 2003.