The Ellen Degeneres Show is back, opens its 18th season with a speech and an apology from its host about toxic workplace allegations.
For her opening, DeGeneres addressed the camera in a comedic tone: “If you’re watching because you love me, thank you. If you’re watching because you don’t love me, welcome.”
She asked her virtual audience about their summer, and she jokingly said that hers was “great.”
Then, she became serious when she started addressing the controversy.
Former and current staff members revealed to Buzzfeed they were removed from their jobs after taking medical leave or bereavement days. Some said they were told not to speak to the host if encountered her around the office.
“I take this very seriously and I want to say I’m so sorry to the people it affected,” the host said.
She explained that after an investigation about the show was conducted, she learned that “things happened that should never have happened.”
“If I’ve ever let someone down, if I’ve ever hurt their feelings, I am sorry for that,” she said.
The ‘Be Kind’ lady”
DeGeneres mentioned that there were “articles in the press and on social media that said that I am not who I appear to be on TV” or in her words, “the ‘Be Kind’ lady.”
She responded to the allegations by saying, “The truth is I am that person that you see on TV. I am also a lot of other things. I sometimes 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 and I’m especially working on the impatience thing because, and it’s not going well because it’s not happening fast enough. I am a talk show host and you know that.”
“But maybe some of you know I was an actress. I’ve played a straight woman in movies. So I’m a pretty good actress. I don’t think that I’m that good that I could come out here every day for 17 years and fool you. This is me. And my intention is to always be the best person I can be,” she continued.”
DeGeneres admitted that she is aware of her “position of power and privilege” and that whatever happened within the show was her responsibility.
“We have made the necessary changes and today we’re starting a new chapter,” she told the audience. One of these changes includes studio DJ Twitch having been promoted to co-executive producer.
The host apologized again to the people who she may have let down and hurt. “Now I am a boss of 270 people, 270 people who help make this show. I want is for every single one of them to be happy and to be proud to work here… I still want to be the one hour a day that people can go to escape and laugh. I want to continue to help all the people that we help every day. And I’m committed to making this the best season that we have ever had,” she said.