Ellen DeGeneres is back and, yes, she’s talking about it.
The longtime daytime talk show host returns to “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” Monday –addressing the allegations of a toxic workplace environment that exploded over the summer. Back in the studio and speaking to a virtual audience, DeGeneres, 62, thanked those watching because “you love me” and welcomed others who might be watching because “you don’t love me.”
“How was everybody’s summer? Good? Mine was great. Super terrific,” she joked in a clip released Monday morning (viewers should check local listings for show air times in their area).
“I learned that things happened here that never should have happened. I take that very seriously, and I want to say I am so sorry to the people who were affected. I know that I’m in a position of privilege and power, and I realize that with that comes responsibility, and I take responsibility for what happens at my show.”
The host of the popular, long-running “Ellen DeGeneres Show,” which has aired in syndication since 2003, apologized July 30 in a letter to staffers after an internal review of worker complaints about staff facing racism, fear and intimidation was conducted by parent company WarnerMedia. DeGeneres and the studio are “committed to ensuring a workplace based on respect and inclusion,” the statement provided at the time by Warner Bros. to USA TODAY read. Last month, three executive producers were ousted.
More: ‘Ellen DeGeneres Show’ producers respond to claims of toxic workplace environment
Speaking in Monday’s episode, DeGeneres said she and her colleagues had “a lot” of conversations over the past few weeks (including “numerous” ones with the show’s former DJ, Stephen “tWtich” Boss, who is now the show’s co-executive producer) and made “the necessary changes.”
“Today, we are starting a new chapter,” DeGeneres said.
Some of the allegations suggested DeGeneres’ off-screen behavior was responsible for the toxic environment and that she wasn’t the kind person she appeared to be on television.
“Being known as the ‘be-kind lady’ is a tricky position to be in,” she said. “The truth is I am that person you see on TV. I am also a lot of other things. Sometimes I get sad, I get mad, I get anxious, I get frustrated, I get impatient. And I am working on all of that, and I’m especially working on the impatience thing. And it’s not going well, because it’s not happening fast enough.”
Touching on her background as an actress, DeGeneres said she didn’t think she was so talented of a performer that she could “come out here every day for 17 years and fool you.” She said she joined the industry to make people “laugh and feel good” and apologized if that wasn’t the case.
“My intention is to always be the best person I can be, and if I’ve ever let someone down, if I’ve ever hurt their feelings, I am so sorry for that. If that’s ever the case, I have let myself down and I’ve hurt myself, as well.”
Where do things go from here? DeGeneres said she’s committed to making this season the best one yet and wants to make sure that all 270 people who work for the show know she is “so grateful” for them.
“All I want is for every single one of them to be happy and to be proud to work here. This has been a horrible summer for people all around the world,” she said, citing the coronavirus pandemic, wildfires and racial injustice.
“My hope is that we can still be a place of happiness and joy. I still want to be the one hour a day that people can go to escape and laugh.”
More: ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’ ousts three top producers amid toxic workplace accusations
And: Have toxic workplace claims and quarantine struggles caused Ellen fans to flee?
The first of DeGeneres’ season 18 guests, comedian/actress Tiffany Haddish voiced her support for the talk show host at the start of their sit-down.
“You the best,” Haddish complimented. “You know I love you, and I support you 110%.”
“Thank you. I love you,” DeGeneres responded.
“I don’t like how people was accusing you of all these things, whatever,” said Haddish, “and you can’t always know what’s going on at the workplace and whatnot.”