Long before Pink was powering-belting about today being the day she’s been waiting for, the theme song for Ellen was an upbeat little dance club ditty that urged you to “have a little fun today.” Well, just like that old theme song, the opportunity to have a little fun today is officially over for three senior producers of Ellen. Like one of Ellen DeGeneres’ favorite executive producers (and alleged workplace harasser) Kevin Leman, seen in a bit with Ellen above. Kevin, along with two others, won’t be returning to the show, effective immediately. And Ellen is very sorry that things turned into a shit-show behind the scenes.
Variety reports that senior producers Kevin Leman and Ed Glavin, and co-executive producer Jonathan Norman, are all done at Ellen. And it’s not surprising.
After all the tweets and first-hand accounts of Ellen’s alleged bad behavior came out at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, BuzzFeed decided to dig a little deeper. And what they found were lots of workplace harassment allegations. Kevin was accused of asking a former employee for a handjob or oral sex at a company party back in 2013, and allegedly commenting on male employees bulges, or asking if they’re a top or a bottom. Kevin sort of apologized, but mostly brushed it off, saying he was just making jokes for his job (he began as a writer on the show).
Ed Glavin was accused of being handsy and creepy with women employees, like allegedly giving unsolicited back rubs or touching their waist. Former Ellen producer Hedda Muskrat backed up the allegations, saying that Ed was Ellen’s “barking dog,” who did Ellen’s dirty work. Ed didn’t comment on any of the accusations. There was also talk that a third producer was involved in the accusations, and well, I guess it was Jonathan Norman. A Warner Bros. spokesperson confirmed that Kevin, Ed, and Jonathan have “parted ways” with the show.
Senior producers Mary Connelly, Andy Lassner, and Derek Westervelt will remain on Ellen’s executive production team, alongside Ellen (Mary, Andy, and Derek have been with the show since its beginning in 2003). Also recently promoted to Ellen’s production team with the title of co-executive producer was Stephen “tWitch” Boss, who recently came out in defense of Ellen.
Variety also reports that WarnerMedia’s internal investigation found that there was no “systemic racism” at the Ellen show, but that much more could be done in terms of diversity and inclusion. Us Weekly says Ellen sort of touched on that in a video call delivered to staff yesterday, to address the situation, boost morale, and acknowledge her reputation as a cold, unfriendly asshole. According to a source, Ellen explained that she was an introvert who had a hard time dealing with her huge popularity. She also explained that no one should feel scared to look her in the eye or say hello on set.
“Ellen addressed them. It really boosted morale. She opened up and was being real. [She] admitted to being multilayered and said she has good days and bad days. She said people on the call would know that she has not asked people not to look her in the eyes on set.”
Ellen also released another memo to staff on the subject. Ellen’s first in-house statement stressed that she was so disappointed “to learn” of the allegations against Kevin and Ed and all that. Now she’s really doubling down on the clueless energy, by apologizing for letting someone else run the “machine.”
Ellen's note to staff, obtained by THR: "I’m so so sorry for what this has become. I’ve left this to be a well-oiled machine, and I realize it’s not a machine…its human beings."
— The Hollywood Reporter (@THR) August 17, 2020
I guess Ellen’s dance class skipped over the lesson on The Accountability Shuffle. Because once again, Ellen is playing ignorant. She’s got enough to fill an album at this point. Ellen Avoids Accountability, with such classics as You never sent me an invitation to your birthday party, and I know nothing of my friend’s problematic history, and What homophobia?. And try not to jump out of your seat to her latest hit, Oh my god, they were humans this whole time???