Ellen DeGeneres’ toxic workplace scandal is far from over, expert says: ‘Every nicety will be scrutinized’


The Ellen DeGeneres Show” ousted three producers this week after a number of employees voiced sexual misconduct claims but that doesn’t mean the famed talk show host will walk away unscathed, a brand expert tells Fox News.

Ellen DeGeneres apologized to over 200 staff members in a virtual Zoom call on Monday and reportedly did so again on Tuesday amid an internal investigation into alleged toxic workplace conditions.

On Monday, a spokesperson for Warner Bros. confirmed to Fox News that executive producers Ed Glavin and Kevin Leman and co-executive producer Jonathan Norman “have parted ways” with the show. The show’s resident DJ Stephen “tWitch” Boss has since been tapped to co-executive producer and it appears that Mary Connelly, Andy Lassner, and Derek Westervelt still remain as producers.

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Hirings and firings were likely amid the scandal but viewers should expect “a lot more twists ahead,”  Eric Schiffer, chairman of Reputation Management Consultants, told Fox News.

Ellen DeGeneres' brand may be in trouble, expert says.

Ellen DeGeneres’ brand may be in trouble, expert says.
(Netflix)

The brand expert says the shakeup does not diminish the other accusations piled on DeGeneres, such as claims she walks around with a particular hostile air about her. Several former and current employees spoke to her rumored “cold” demeanor and claimed under anonymity that staffers are unable to look her in the eye behind the scenes. Back in May, her former bodyguard at the 2014 Oscars backed up the not-so-nice claims about DeGeneres, referring to her as “sly.” Several other crew members made anonymous complaints about bullying and racism.

“Viewers like truth and authenticity and they know that it’s a con job,” Schiffer analyzed. “For those who still tune in, which many will, every nicety will be scrutinized with an electronic microscope.”

Schiffer went on to say that behind “every smile” on the television show will be viewers at home questioning the host’s motives.

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“She has many question marks about her ability to continue her career and whether or not it will end in a kiss of death,” Schiffer said. “We’re going to find out also whether advertisers are willing to deal with the avalanche of outrage that continues to come.”

On Tuesday, sources familiar with the staff meeting that took place one day prior told Fox News that DeGeneres apologized to staff and discussed having good days and bad days. She told staff members she’s not perfect and thanked the crew for making all 17 Seasons thus far a success.

Schiffer said the apologies are too late. The brand expert said that, more than an apology, DeGeneres will have to now work on eliminating her “gigantic ego.”

Actors Elisha Cuthbert (R) and Nick Zano (L) and executive producer Ellen DeGeneres speak about the NBC television show "One Big Happy" during the TCA presentations in Pasadena, California.

Actors Elisha Cuthbert (R) and Nick Zano (L) and executive producer Ellen DeGeneres speak about the NBC television show “One Big Happy” during the TCA presentations in Pasadena, California.
(Reuters)

“Does firing executive producers fix anything or just try to cover things up and delay the inevitable?” Schiffer asked. “What needs to happen is she needs to humble herself and treat people respectfully versus needing to avoid them so she can interact with staff in an appropriate way.”

Schiffer added that A-list celebrities who have since come out voicing support for DeGeneres have added another layer of sanctimony to the scandal. Kevin Hart, Katy Perry and Diane Keaton are just a few of a handful of celebrities who’ve publicly defended DeGeneres in recent weeks.

“Do they think it’s OK to lead a production where people are treated like animals? It’s these kinds of celebrities in Hollywood, and Ellen would be included in this, that are horrifyingly tone-deaf,” Schiffer said. “That’s a part of this problem.”

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In addition to treating her employees with respect and creating a safe space for them, Schiffer said the success or failure of Season 18, which was recently pushed back to a Sept. 14 premiere date, falls on the host.

“I think they’re going to run it very tight and I think Ellen will have no way to not own any future events, which means she’s really going to need to work on herself so she can interact effectively with people. Her days of pointing the finger are done,” he said.

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