The past month has validated years of rumors that despite her outer persona, Ellen Degeneres may not actually be all that nice. A Buzzfeed report published in mid-July surfaced allegations that despite Degeneres’ reputation as “the nicest person in Hollywood,” the Ellen Degeneres Show was a toxic environment where racism, microaggressions, and other forms of intimidation were normalized. After a second Buzzfeed report revealed more details of the sexual harassment and predation that several of the show’s producers engaged in, Degeneres herself apologized to the crew of her show through a letter she penned at the end of July.
On Monday, the show finally took tangible action, firing three producers who had been specifically accused of sexual harassment and general misconduct in the Buzzfeed reports. Earlier today, a source told Variety that the new benefits package gives Ellen Degeneres Show staffers five additional paid days off to use at their discretion, birthdays off, and paid time for doctors’ appointments. The news was delivered by two senior producers on the show during a virtual town hall earlier this week, during which Degeneres herself also offered a tearful apology for the toxic workplace environment and harassment that occurred under her watch.
Variety also reports that an insider claims “the new perks and a direct address from DeGeneres have improved morale this week.” While it’s certainly good news to see that the show’s crew will be receiving better benefits, those changes don’t actually do anything to address the bulk of the accusations in the Buzzfeed reports. It takes much more than bringing in more HR representatives and issuing public statements to truly change a toxic workplace culture, and I hope for the sake of the show’s staff and crew that these aren’t just empty gestures.
Correction: A previous version of this article misstated that the Ellen Degeneres Show staff received only five days of PTO in total, when in actuality these new benefits included five additional days of PTO.