Ellen DeGeneres yesterday addressed the controversy she has been embattled with on her talk show.
It was the chance for DeGeneres to redeem herself and clear the air around "toxic" workplace allegations. The talk show host spoke to her audience with a monologue titled "Today we're starting a new chapter." While she took the time to carefully speak about the internal investigation launched in the wake of reports from Buzzfeed News, she also mixed several jokes in.
Critics yesterday panned the apology, with Variety noting it "fell short" and The Daily Beast calling it "strange" and "unlikely to appease anyone". Now her former and current staff members have weighed in.
She began her monologue: "How was everybody's summer? Good? Yeah? Mine was great," she said sarcastically, holding two thumbs up. "Super terrific."
"There are a lot of things I want to talk about, I've been looking forward to addressing it all directly. And unfortunately, talking to people directly has been illegal for six months," she said, referencing the Covid-19 pandemic.
She continued: "As you may have heard this summer there were allegations of a toxic work environment at our show and then there was an investigation. I learned that things happened here that never should've happened.
"I take that very seriously, and I want to say I'm so sorry to the people who were affected."
What's more, DeGeneres shared she was struggling to live up with her "be kind to one another" brand, after several reports emerged she was less-than-kind to others behind the scenes. However, she was adamant she was "the person you see on TV".
"Sometimes I get 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 admitted.
"And I am especially working on the impatience thing because … and it's not going well because it's not happening fast enough."
Her former employees have spoken out following yesterday's TV address - accusing her of turning their pain into "a joke."
"Not only did Ellen turn my trauma, turn our traumas, into a joke, she somehow managed to make this about her," a former staffer told Buzzfeed News.
"When you're talking about people who have accused her leadership of the seriousness of sexual misconduct, I don't think it's appropriate to have jokes in the monologue," another said.
Some also took offence to DeGeneres attempting to distance herself from the "be kind lady" she branded herself as.
"There's nothing wrong with being the 'be kind lady' if you're actually true to your word," a former worker in the Buzzfeed News report said.
A current employee quoted in the article says it was good DeGeneres directly addressed the elephant in the room upon her show's return to air.
"It's kind of amazing that this is being discussed on her show. To actually go from an environment where nothing is said and everyone keeps their head down to now when it's the topic of her first show back is pretty amazing," the employee said.
However, the employee added it is another issue entirely whether they "believe" in the message DeGeneres was trying to get across.
WarnerMedia is reportedly close to concluding its investigation into the show.