Things are about to get ugly for one of America’s top daytime television talk shows.
The show where it’s cool to be ultra-woke is facing some serious allegations, and unlike the recent COVID drama at The Ellen Show, the latest allegations of rampant sexual assault, harassment and misconduct are not going to be easy to sweep under the rug.
Things are about to get ugly for some executives at the top-rated Warner Brothers owned daytime talk show.
Two months ago, news started to leak about “Ellen Show” host Ellen Degeneres and her rude, and “cold” behavior towards underlings and non-A-list guests who appear on her show. Employees of the show took their battle with the host public when they criticized Ellen for opting to use a fresh crew of freelancers for her home streaming, after she was forced to tape the show at home Members of her full-time staff claimed they felt they’d been coldly cast aside.
According to Variety – The core stage crew for “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” consisting of more than 30 employees, received no written communication about the status of their working hours, pay, or inquiries about their mental and physical health from producers for over a month, said two sources, both of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity. Higher-ups in production would occasionally answer phone calls but reveal little, added one of the sources. The crew was further incensed by the show’s recent hire of an outside, non-union tech company to help DeGeneres tape remotely from her home in California. When production executives finally did weigh in, nearly all crew members were told last week to brace for a 60% reduction in pay, even as the show continues to air, according to sources close to the matter.
Two months after the Ellen Show COVID drama, multiple, serious allegations of sexual harrassment, misconduct, and sexual assault by three producers of the woke daytime show are being reported by Buzzfeed News.
BuzzFeed News spoke to 36 former employees, many of whom independently corroborated incidents of harassment, sexual misconduct, and assault from top producers like Leman. All of the ex-employees, many of whom had voluntarily left the show, asked to remain anonymous out of fear of retribution.
Warner Bros. declined to comment on specific allegations, citing an ongoing internal investigation that was launched after an earlier BuzzFeed News report in which current and former employees said they faced racism, fear, and intimidation at work.
One ex-employee said head writer and executive producer Kevin Leman asked him if he could give him a handjob or perform oral sex in a bathroom at a company party in 2013. Another said they separately saw Leman grab a production assistant’s penis.
In May 2017, another former employee also said she saw Leman grope a production assistant in a car and kiss his neck.
Nearly a dozen former employees, who range from longtime, senior-level employees to production assistants, said it was also common for Leman to make sexually explicit comments in the office, like pointing out male colleagues’ bulges in their crotches, or ask them questions like, “Are you a top or a bottom?”
In January, Leman tweeted a video showing a woke segment where Ellen dropped the floor out on a President Trump while he was talking about building the border wall.
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) January 10, 2019
In a statement after this article was published, Leman said he categorically denied “any kind of sexual impropriety.”
In a letter to staff that was obtained by BuzzFeed News, DeGeneres on Thursday apologized, saying that from its inception, the show was supposed to be a place of “happiness” where “everyone would be treated with respect.”
“Obviously, something changed, and I am disappointed to learn that this has not been the case. And for that, I am sorry. Anyone who knows me knows it’s the opposite of what I believe and what I hoped for our show,” she wrote.
“Creepy” Executive Producer Ed Glavin, an obsessive anti-Trump tweeter, has also been accused by dozens of former employees.
Among the many allegations brought to BuzzFeed News, five former employees said executive producer Ed Glavin touched them in a way that made them uncomfortable by rubbing their shoulders and back, as well as placing his hand around their lower waist.
Dozens of former employees also said Glavin “had a reputation for being handsy with women,” especially in the control room, and managed the team through fear and intimidation.
“You could definitely see the creep factor and the creepy touching. That was out in the open for everybody to see,” one former employee, who said Glavin regularly touched her in the control room, told BuzzFeed News. “Obviously, no one wants that and no one wants to be uncomfortably touched by someone … but you didn’t want to piss them off or you would be fired, so it was just that culture of fear.”
Another former employee said Glavin would call over producers and assistants to sit near him when the show was filming segments they had worked on and, in front of nearly 30 other people in the control room, would touch them inappropriately.
Glavin did not respond to a request for comment regarding the allegations prior to publication.
Glavin did, however, have plenty to say about President Trump, who the accused “creep” calls the “embodiment of evil.”
He is the embodiment of evil. https://t.co/xzY09U0oBW
— Ed Glavin (@EdGlavin) July 15, 2020
In all, 47 former employees who spoke to BuzzFeed News said Glavin led with intimidation and fear on a daily basis. One former employee said when they turned in their notice, Glavin flipped over a table and chair while screaming.
Five former employees also said they saw Glavin use a button at his desk to remotely shut his office door “as an intimidation tactic” during reprimands.
“It seemed like a power move, more than anything,” one former employee said.
Ex-workers also said they were uncomfortable when Glavin used his private shower in his office bathroom.
“You’d be going into his office for an important meeting and the shower door is open and you’re like, that’s a little weird,” a former employee said. “The shower is right when you walk in on the right. Before you even see his desk, you see his shower. He’d be openly showering and going into meetings with wet hair.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Ed Glavin is first to be fired.
While neither she nor Warner Brothers will comment on the fate of specific employees, two sources tell THR that executive producer Ed Glavin — one of the show’s three EPs, and the one at the center of many of the nastier claims — is among those who will be let go. “Once he’s out, it will be like a new day,” says a source close to the show, one of two who claim DeGeneres was largely kept shielded from Glavin’s day-to-day handling or mishandling of the staff. Others are expected to be out as well.
Here’s a video of Ed Glavin making a surprise appearance on Ellen’s stage during a show:
The Daily Mail reports – The news of Glavin’s reported firing comes as Warner Bros. subsidiary Telepictures is about to wrap up an in-house investigation into allegations that Ellen staffers were subjected to bullying, racist comments and abuse.
An internal memo sent last week explained that current and former staff will be interviewed about claims of ‘mistreatment, racism and intimidation’ behind the scenes.
Another former employee said co-executive producer Jonathan Norman groomed him over a period of time by taking him to concerts and other work-related perks, and then one night attempted to perform oral sex on him. Three of the employee’s former colleagues on the show corroborated that he told them about the incident at the time and said they have discussed it in the years since.
“We’re young people who were forming our careers and were unfortunately subjected to a toxic work environment as some of our first jobs out of college,” the former employee said. “And some of us were sexually harassed and that’s what was shaping our careers our first year out of school.”
In a statement after publication Thursday night, Norman said he is “100% categorically denying these allegations.”
Adding to the void of accountability, former employees said there was no formal process to confidentially file complaints, and that senior-level producers pressured them not to go to HR at the show’s parent company.
“There was no such thing as a confidential conversation,” a former employee said. “There was no clear direction that if something happens to you, you go to this person, it will remain confidential, and you will not be retaliated against.”
A former Warner Brothers employee who worked with The Ellen Show said the company “turns a blind eye” to the alleged misconduct because the series “is a cash cow.”
“Warner Brothers has a responsibility not just to the people who work on The Ellen Show, but to its viewers and its shareholders to make sure people are protected on the job, and that they’re not harassed, and they’re not working in an environment that is toxic and unhealthy,” the former employee said.
Some former workers said they don’t think DeGeneres is aware of the scope of what goes on behind the scenes because she doesn’t spend enough time in the office or interacting with the staff to have a strong sense of the culture. They also said executive producers “insulate” her from details and control the narrative on set.