Three producers 'part ways' with Ellen DeGeneres Show amid workplace complaints

18 August 2020, 10:40

Ellen DeGeneres informed staff of the shake-up on Monday in a video conference call
Ellen DeGeneres informed staff of the shake-up on Monday in a video conference call. Picture: PA

By Megan White

Three producers have "parted ways" with The Ellen DeGeneres Show following complaints about how staff were treated on set.

Executive producers Ed Glavin and Kevin Leman and co-executive producer Jonathan Norman left amid allegations of a dysfunctional workplace that harboured misbehaviour including sexual misconduct and racially insensitive remarks.

An internal company investigation of claims about the show was prompted by a BuzzFeed News report in July based on interviews with ex-staffers, who complained about or said they witnessed improper and unfair treatment.

Most of the allegations were tied to executive producers and senior managers, including Mr Glavin, Mr Leman and Mr Norman.

A representative for Mr Leman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Representatives for Mr Glavin and Mr Norman could not immediately be contacted.

In statements to BuzzFeed News after the July 30 story was published, Mr Leman denied "any kind of sexual impropriety" and Mr Norman said he categorically denied the accusations.

Ms DeGeneres informed staff of the shake-up on Monday in a video conference call, according to Variety, which first reported the development.

She said she found claims about the show's environment to be "heartbreaking", the trade publication said, citing unidentified sources.

The comedian and host had sent a memo to her staff after last month's BuzzFeed article, recalling her early promise of ensuring a workplace where "everyone would be treated with respect". Something changed, she said, "and for that, I am sorry".

Celebrities including Katy Perry were criticised for supporting Ms DeGeneres and the show, which debuted in 2003.

In a separate July statement, Warner Bros said parent company WarnerMedia's investigation revealed what it called "some flaws in the show's daily management".

Although not all of the allegations were corroborated, the studio said it was "disappointed that the primary findings of the investigation indicated some deficiencies related to the show's day-to-day management".

No details were specified at the time, and Warner Bros had no further comment on Monday beyond confirming the producers' departures.