The former producer of Ellen DeGeneres show recently claimed that DeGeneres was well aware of the toxic environment existing in the workplace, and to some extent, was even responsible for it. The allegations were documented in the series of investigations by BuzzFeed News.
A prevalent face of various talk shows, Hedda Muskat, was first recruited by Andy Lassner in 2003 when the show was still in the developmental stage.
According to Muskat, DeGeneres was responsible for the toxic environment in the show involving social issues such as racial discrimination and sexual misconduct.
“I had never seen this before,” Muskat told The Wrap. “I had never been around a toxic host.”
Muskat described one incident where the executive producer screamed in an insulting manner at a crew member in front of his colleague.
“He just went off on them. His whole face turned red. We were stunned. I was waiting for Ellen to say something. ‘Whoa, Ed, don’t talk like that,’” she recalled. “Do you know what she did? She giggled. She crossed her legs up on the chair and said, ‘Well, I guess every production needs their dog.’ And from then, we knew. Ed was going to be the barking dog — her dog.”
“You could just see everybody’s faces go stiff,” Muskat added further. “We’re professionals; we’re adults. We don’t need a dog to get us to do our jobs. She was the only one giggling.”
The former employees of DeGeneres’ talk show recounted how Muskat was sidelined after having a hitch with DeGeneres, mainly after she refused to hand-over her resources. Muskat was eventually asked to leave the door days before the Daytime Emmy Award show where Ellen bagged the crown of outstanding talk show based on various segments Muskat had produced. Such was an injustice for Muskat.
Muskat explained the incident: One day I get called into the office. Ed says to me, ‘You know, Hedda, we’re really loving your segments. I don’t know how you do it. We’re going to need all your sources.’ … I’ve worked for 18 years to build those sources. Those sources are why you hired me. From that day on, I felt a turn, that I was really on everybody’s shitlist.
They call me in and Ed says, ‘Congratulations on the nomination. We really appreciate what you’ve done, but we no longer need your services.’ I could have easily done that job for the rest of my life. I knew it inside and out.
In a recent statement BuzzFeed again came up with an allegation against Ellen that DeGeneres apologized to her staff but tried to move the onto others.
“As we’ve grown exponentially, I’ve not been able to stay on top of everything and relied on others to do their jobs as they knew I’d want them done,” she wrote. “Clearly some didn’t. That will now change and I’m committed to ensuring this does not happen again.”
A former DJ from “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” recently spoke about the toxicity of the show’s workplace. He felt the “Toxicity in the environment” when he worked there.
“I was on air talent from 2003-2006 and from 2007-2013,” Okungbowa wrote alongside a photo of himself in the show’s DJ booth. “While I am grateful for the opportunity it afforded me, I did experience and feel the toxicity of the environment and I stand with my former colleagues in their quest to create a healthier and more inclusive workplace as the show moves forward.”
“I’m sick and tired of my sister being attacked,” he wrote on Facebook. “She always has – and always will – stand against bullying of any kind. She’s a smart, strong woman who has made a positive difference in the world.”
On Twitter he further added “If you think Ellen would knowingly allow bullying or racism on her show, you don’t know my sister. She has been and continues to be a bright light in a dark world. She’s one of the kindest, most generous people you’ll ever meet. And one of the funniest.”