Ellen DeGeneres Apologizes To Staff For Toxic Work Environment

Ellen DeGeneres (screen capture)

Following the announcement of an investigation into numerous reports of a toxic work environment at The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Ellen DeGeneres has reportedly emailed her staff apologizing for the alleged behind-the-scenes transgressions.

Via Variety:

DeGeneres acknowledged a culture that did not reflect the values with which she started the 17-year-old franchise, and pledged to do better. In addition, insiders familiar with the series said executive producer Ed Glavin is set to exit his role imminently.

“On day one of our show, I told everyone in our first meeting that ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’ would be a place of happiness — no one would ever raise their voice, and everyone would be treated with respect. Obviously, something changed, and I am disappointed to learn that this has not been the case,” DeGeneres wrote.

“I could not have the success I’ve had without all of your contributions. My name is on the show and everything we do and I take responsibility for that. Alongside Warner Bros., we immediately began an internal investigation and we are taking steps, together, to correct the issues.

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. Clearly some didn’t. That will now change and I’m committed to ensuring this does not happen again,” she continued.

DeGeneres’ full note to staff:

Hey everybody – it’s Ellen. On day one of our show, I told everyone in our first meeting that The Ellen DeGeneres Show would be a place of happiness – no one would ever raise their voice, and everyone would be treated with respect. Obviously, something changed, and I am disappointed to learn that this has not been the case. And for that, I am sorry. Anyone who knows me knows it’s the opposite of what I believe and what I hoped for our show.

I could not have the success I’ve had without all of your contributions. My name is on the show and everything we do and I take responsibility for that. Alongside Warner Bros, we immediately began an internal investigation and we are taking steps, together, to correct the issues. 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. Clearly some didn’t. That will now change and I’m committed to ensuring this does not happen again.

I’m also learning that people who work with me and for me are speaking on my behalf and misrepresenting who I am and that has to stop. As someone who was judged and nearly lost everything for just being who I am, I truly understand and have deep compassion for those being looked at differently, or treated unfairly, not equal, or – worse – disregarded. To think that any one of you felt that way is awful to me.

It’s been way too long, but we’re finally having conversations about fairness and justice. We all have to be more mindful about the way our words and actions affect others, and I’m glad the issues at our show were brought to my attention. I promise to do my part in continuing to push myself and everyone around me to learn and grow. It’s important to me and to Warner Bros. that everyone who has something to say can speak up and feels safe doing so.

I am so proud of the work we do and the fun and joy we all help put out in the world. I want everyone at home to love our show and I want everyone who makes it to love working on it. Again, I’m so sorry to anyone who didn’t have that experience. If not for COVID, I’d have done this in person, and I can’t wait to be back on our stage and see you all then.

Stay safe and healthy.

Love,

Ellen

News Round-Up: July 27, 2020

L-R Max Parker, Kris Mochrie (via Instagram)

Some news items you might have missed:

Instinct Magazine: Actors Max Parker and Kris Mochrie, who play brothers Luke and Lee Posner on the hit British soap Emmerdale, are dating. Oh, the scandal of it all! The couple posted the photo above with the caption, “London lads lazily lounging.”

The Advocate: Amid mounting reports of a toxic workplace culture behind the scenes at The Ellen DeGeneres Show, WarnerMedia has launched an internal investigation that will be spearheaded by the company’s employee relations group and a third-party firm. A recent Buzzfeed story painted a damning picture of workplace culture on DeGeneres’s show asserting “racist comments, actions, and microaggressions.”

Buzzfeed LGBTQ: Check out the pop culture site’s latest round-up of funny but true gay tweets like…

Edge Media: The world’s biggest COVID-19 vaccine study got underway Monday with the first of 30,000 planned volunteers helping to test shots created by the U.S. government and Moderna Inc.

CNN: Sinclair Broadcast Group, which owns 193 local TV stations, somehow found the good sense God gave a goat and dropped the idea of airing a segment featuring a conspiracy theory that suggested Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, was responsible for the creation of the coronavirus.

The Atlantic: Bernie Sanders campaign co-chair Nina Turner told journalist Peter Nicholas she has no appetite for voting for former Vice President Joe Biden: “It’s like saying to somebody, ‘You have a bowl of shit in front of you, and all you’ve got to do is eat half of it instead of the whole thing.’”

News Round-Up: July 23, 2020

Ellen DeGeneres (image via Depositphotos)

Some news items you might have missed:

US Weekly: Show staffers at The Ellen DeGeneres Show are reportedly gleeful since the publication of a report about the “toxic work environment” at the TV gabfest. “They’re loving that the truth — which has been an open secret for years in the industry — is finally receiving more interest.”

Buzzfeed News: A federal prosecutor arrested for drunk driving used anti-gay slurs and other abusive terms according to an inspector general report obtained by BuzzFeed News. Nine officers went on record saying the unnamed prosecutor used the word “f*ggot” repeatedly.

NY Times: On July 9, the U.S. crossed the 3 million mark in terms of positive COVID-19 tests. Just 14 days later, we crossed the 4 million mark. #SoMuchWinning

KIT212: I’m late but Kenneth nailed this week’s ‘Wrestle Wednesday’ (below). Hit the link for more reverse stripping.

NBC News: Donald Trump finally succumbed to the writing on the COVID-19 wall and has canceled his huge, in-person Republican convention in Jacksonville, Florida. The Republican National Party will still hold virtual events, and the Trumpster will still get to give his acceptance speech.

USA Today: The Senate overwhelmingly passed a massive defense bill Thursday afternoon that includes the removal of Confederate names from army bases and creates a possible showdown between Congress and President Donald Trump, who opposes renaming the bases. The bill passed by a lopsided count of 86 to 14, well over the number required to override a presidential veto.

The Hill: Donald Trump whined today about an ad released by presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden that featured former President Obama saying the U.S. is not dealing with the coronavirus pandemic as “smartly” as other countries with similar resources. The conservative anti-Trump group, The Lincoln Project, trolled back asking Trump to identify an elephant in reference to the Donald’s constant preening about passing a dementia test.

News Round-Up: July 17, 2020

Broadway star Norm Lewis

Some news items you might have missed:

What To Watch This Weekend: I’ll definitely be watching Tony Award nominee and all-around super-talent Norm Lewis (above) in concert with SiriusXM’s Seth Rudetsky at 8 pm ET/5 pm PT. Broadway audiences know the oh-so-handsome Lewis from his performances in Phantom of the Opera, Once on This Island, Sondheim on Sondheim, The Little Mermaid, Les Misérables, Chicago and more.

Towleroad: Donald Trump’s niece, Mary Trump, shares in her newly released book, Too Much and Never Enough, that she decided not to come out to her family after hearing her grandmother call international pop star Elton John a “faggot.”

Boy Culture: Matt Rettenmund calls out Chuck Woolery’s bs after the former game show host said COVID-19 is a hoax, then u-turned because his son “tested positive for the virus,” and then deleted his Twitter account.

KIT212: Kenneth’s latest round-up of local LGBTQ publications leads off with South Florida’s Hotspots (below) featuring a profile on Anthony Catanzaro, once known as the ‘Superman of fitness.’ Catanzaro has released a new coffee table book to help fund his battle with Parkinson’s Disease.

Anthony Catanzaro covers South Florida’s Hotspots (photo: John Falocco)

Buzzfeed News: Current and former employees of The Ellen DeGeneres Show say behind the scenes, they faced racism, fear, and intimidation. “That ‘be kind’ bullshit only happens when the cameras are on. It’s all for show.”

Pink News: A judge in Poland has struck down one of the European country’s so-called “LGBT-free” zones ruling the policy violated the constitutional ban on discrimination and turned a “blind eye to reality.” Back in February, nearly 100 Polish municipal or local governments proclaimed themselves to be “free from LGBT” ideology and pledged to refrain from encouraging tolerance for gay people.

Out Music: In advance of his new six-song concept EP, In A Dream, Troye Sivan drops the second single, “Easy,” an infectious plea to set a relationship back on course.

The leadoff track, “Take Yourself Home,” trended at #1 on Twitter worldwide following its release earlier this year and has now attained over 76 million cumulative global streams. Check out the new single below.

News Round-Up: July 3, 2020

Yanni Burton (courtesy photo)

Some news items you might have missed:

Newsweek: Producers for The Ellen DeGeneres Show have denied rumors that the long-running talk show is coming to an end following the continued backlash against the host. The Sun alleges the show is set to be axed due to ratings falling 14 percent to a new season 17 low rating of 1.2.

Out Music: Yanni Burton (top photo) turns the spotlight on his own struggles of letting go and moving on from past relationships in his new single and music video, “A Part of Me.”

“I have a history of getting lost in memories and emotions,” says Yanni. “To the point where I become consumed with panic, anxiety and I can’t function properly or move on with my life.”

Produced by Yanni with his close friend Tiger Darrow, the song contains a dreamy, trippy soundscape and is darker and more emotionally intense than his previous singles. However, it still contains the pop/dance feel the artist has become known for. Check it out below.

Vanity Fair: The Trump campaign is considering canceling the Republican National Convention in Jacksonville, Florida after the city mandated that people wear masks indoors to slow the explosion of COVID-19 cases.

KIT212: Hit up Kenneth’s latest round-up of the what’s what in local LGBTQ publications like South Florida’s Hot Spots (below).

Pink News: Utah County Commissioner Nathan Ivie, 40, who came out as the state’s first openly gay elected Republican last year, just lost his bid for reelection. He says his loss is “absolutely” because he came out. He won his previous election by 81 percent.

Gay Star News: RuPaul has completely wiped his Instagram account of all posts and deleted his Twitter account entirely – but fans don’t know why. Nevertheless, fans have come up with all sorts of theories as to why the accounts have disappeared.

Daytime Emmy Noms Show Big Love For LGBTQ Series ‘After Forever’ & ‘Eastsiders’

Mitchell Anderson & Kevin Spirtas in ‘After Forever;’ the cast of ‘Eastsiders’ (images via Instagram)

The nominees for the 47th Annual Daytime Emmy® Awards were announced on Thursday with some big love to LGBTQ-themed work and artists.

The Netflix dark comedy Eastsiders scored 8 nominations including Outstanding Digital Drama Series, RuPaul’s Drag Race alum Willam Belli and Leith M. Burke each got a nod for Outstanding Supporting Actor Digital Series; Lin Shaye for Outstanding Guest Performer Digital Series; Outstanding Writing Team Digital Series; Outstanding Casting; Outstanding Costume Design; and Outstanding Makeup.

While RuPaul’s Drag Race alum Willam isn’t the first drag queen to receive an Emmy nod, I believe this is the first time a drag performer has received a nomination in an acting category.

The acclaimed Amazon Video digital series After Forever was honored with 6 nominations including Outstanding Digital Drama Series; Cady Huffman for Outstanding Lead Actress Digital Series; Lenny Wolpe for Outstanding Supporting Actor Digital Series; Mary Beth Peil for Outstanding Guest Performer Digital Series; Outstanding Writing Team Digital Series and Outstanding Art/Set Direction/Scenic Design.

This was the second season of the acclaimed Amazon series. Two years ago, After Forever received 8 nominations and won 5 including Best Digital Drama Series. Additionally, series creator Kevin Spirtas scored for Best Actor Digital Series and Best Writing Team.

 

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Mary Beth Peil on joining the cast of AFTER FOREVER in Season 2: “I think the series is quite impressive, not just the story that they are telling but every one of us can relate to losing people,” she added. “It establishes a tone that is very unique and hard to describe. It allows everything to unfold naturally.” Read all about it in @digitaljournal & catch up on the series available on Amazon. #lgbtcommunity #lgbtpride #awardwinning #lgbt #laindiefilmfest #iawtvawards #outonfilmatlanta #outonfilm #accoladecompetition #loveandloss #gay #gaypride #watchnow #bingewatching #bingewatch #gsff2019 #daytimeemmys #indieseriesawards #emmys #emmywinner #afterforevertheseries #amazonprime #bingenetworks #kevinspirtas #mitchellanderson #filmnyc #nyc #marybethpeil

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Afternoon talkfest The Ellen DeGeneres Show added to its long list of Emmy honors with 5 nominations including Outstanding Entertainment Talk Show, Outstanding Writing for a Special Class Series, Outstanding Directing for Talk/Entertainment/Morning Program, Outstanding Sound Mixing, Outstanding Art/Set/Scenic Design.

And the innovative lip-sync documentary Stonewall Outloud, which utilized rare recordings of people who experienced the Stonewall uprising in 1969, received a nod for Outstanding Direction – Special Class.

The honors will be presented in a two-hour special on Friday, June 26 (8:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

Since 1974, the Daytime Emmy® Awards have recognized outstanding achievement in daytime television programming. The awards are presented to individuals and programs broadcast between 2:00 am and 6:00 pm, as well as certain categories of digital and syndicated programming of similar content.

This year’s nominations were culled from more than 2,700 submissions and judged by a pool of 1,000 peer professionals from across the television industry.

Awards will be presented in leading categories during the telecast, with recipients and other special guests appearing from home in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

You can find the full list of nominees at TheEmmys.tv.

In case you missed it, you can check out my exclusive interview with the Emmy Award-winning co-creators of After Forever, Michael Slade & Kevin Spirtas, below.

News Round-Up: April 21, 2020

(via Instagram)

Some news items you might have missed:

InstaHunks: Woofy Steve_in_LA (above) chilled with his bestie today. What a handsome dog…the canine is a looker, too. Follow Steve on Instagram here.

Instinct Magazine: World of Wonder Productions, in partnership with The Stonewall Inn, will present a live-stream concert on Thursday, April 23rd at 8PM ET/ 5 PT, hosted by Michelle Visage and Tyler Oakley with proceeds from the event to benefit LGBTQ+ nightlife industry professionals affected by COVID-19. Among those scheduled to appear are Alan Cumming, Betty Who, Greyson Chance, John Cameron Mitchell, Kim Petras, Lorna Luft, Peppermint, Rufus Wainwright, Shoshana Bean, Todrick Hall, Troye Sivan, VINCINT and a special performance by Cyndi Lauper.

NBC News: The crew for The Ellen DeGeneres Show is furious over lack of communication from the producers, a proposed pay cut during the coronavirus threat, and the hiring of a non-union tech company to help DeGeneres tape remotely from her home in California.

Advocate: According to a new independent poll from Levada Center almost one in five (18 percent) of Russians believe that LGBTQ people should be “eliminated,” while 32 percent of Russians believe that gays and lesbians should be “isolated from society.” And that’s actually an improvement from past surveys.

Pink News: A trans woman was stabbed 20 times and had her eye gouged out to ‘send a message’ to Colombia’s LGBT+ community, say local leaders.

Politico: The Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday reaffirmed its support for the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election with the goal of putting Donald Trump in the Oval Office. Tuesday’s bipartisan report, from a panel chaired by North Carolina Republican Richard Burr, undercuts Trump’s years of efforts to portray allegations of Kremlin assistance to his campaign as a “hoax,” driven by Democrats and a “deep state” embedded within the government bureaucracy.

Out Music: LA-based indie artist Onsen releases the new song “Be There”, a track about the one that got away. Though the track is about lost love, it was written when the epiphany of desire occurred but before the letdown. As a result, it reflects on the relationship in a positive light.

Drew Straus, aka Onsen, gives his side of the story: “After playing it cool for too long, a person I liked had drifted away. ‘Be There’ is a confession, that I took them for granted and realized foolishly late that I’m on board and want to make it work.”

News Round-Up: April 17, 2020

Sean Hayes on Seth Rudetsky’s Back to School podcast

Some news items you might have missed:

Podcast: Before Sean Hayes (above) was winning Emmy awards, he was winning the Golden Crutch award for being the clumsiest person in his high school drama department. Hear how he earned the title, plus how he coped with getting hazed, on this week’s episode of Seth Rudetsky’s Back to School

Variety: Crew members from Ellen DeGeneres’ long-running daytime talk show are outraged having received no written communication from the producers. The crew was further incensed by the show’s recent hire of an outside, non-union tech company to help DeGeneres tape remotely from her home in California. And then, nearly all crew members were told to brace for a 60% reduction in pay, even as the show continues to air.

Out Music: Harrison Barnes’ new music video, “Play Me,” kicks off with a dash of Britney Spears’ “Baby One More Time” before spinning into his own boy-band-tastic pop bop. The track has a cute hook, and Barnes totally hits it on the choreography.

PEOPLE: James Corden’s modern, live-action remake of the classic fairytale Cinderella, featuring Tony/Grammy Award winner Billy Porter as a genderless fairy godmother, will make its debut February 5, 2021.

The Wrap: TV show host Phil “Dr. Phil” McGraw really stepped in it when he downplayed the seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic on Thursday’s episode of “The Ingraham Angle” on Fox News, declaring 360,000 people a year from swimming pools, but we don’t shut the country down for that. Funny thing – you can’t ‘catch’ a drowning and pass it on to others in a grocery store.

ABC News: After Donald Trump took to Twitter to tell New York state Gov. Andrew Cuomo to spend “more time ‘doing’ and less time ‘complaining,” a reporter asked the governor his thoughts during a live press conference. Said Cuomo, “First of all, If he’s sitting home watching TV, maybe HE should get up and go to work, right?” Watch Cuomo’s epic takedown below.

News Round-Up: April 14, 2020

Former Rep. Aaron Schock (3rd from right – screen capture)

Some news items you might have missed:

Instagram: The rules are clearly different for folks like former Rep. Aaron Schock (above) who doesn’t seem to be keeping any ‘social distance’ down in Cabo.

OUT: Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres is making headlines again as thousands of petitioners are asking that she be replaced on her show by Ellen Page in a campaign that seems partially comedic and partially serious.

Twitter: A group of housemates in the UK decided to recreate their favorite nightclub G-A-Y, since they couldn’t visit it in person. Check out the results complete with promo street team, doorman/bouncer, bartender, a couple making out, disco lighting, and Rihanna’s gay anthem, “We Found Love.”

48 Hills: San Francisco Pride announced today that it is canceling (not postponing) this year’s June Parade and Celebration—the largest in the Western United States—as COVID continues to take its toll.

Wonkette: Someone should tell Fox News‘ Tucker Carlson that breast cancer and opioid addiction aren’t contagious like COVID-19.

Out Music: LGBTQ singer and TV personality, Trent Crews, drops his new single, “Papi,” which also features transgender rapper, ballroom scene personality and actress Precious (“Viceland’). The new track – a bouncy, urban pop bop – is an undeniably groovy listen.

Crews is perhaps best known for his previous role in season 8 of VH1’s Love & Hip Hop: New York. Let me know what you think in the comments 🙂

Ellen Jokes Quarantining In Her $24 Million Mansion “Is Like Being In Jail”

Ellen DeGeneres
Ellen DeGeneres at home (screen capture)

Ellen DeGeneres began hosting her talkshow from her living room this week in an effort to lift the spirits of her television audience.

She began by acknowledging all the folks who are still at work helping to keep the world running including “doctors, hospital staff, first responders, supermarket employees, truck drivers and everyone who keeps us going.”

Ellen shared doing the at-home edition of her show is for not only her viewers stuck at home but also for her staff and crew: “I love them and miss them, and the best I can do for them is to keep the show on the air.”

But things went a bit awry when she cracked a joke comparing her experience quarantining in her $24 million mansion with folks who are incarcerated.

“This is like being in jail, is what it is,” said Ellen. “Mostly because I’ve been wearing the same clothes for ten days and everyone in here is gay.”

The moment the words escaped her lips you could almost sense she regretted the reference as she clapped her hands and dropped her face as she said, “Ah, the jokes that I have.”

The Emmy Award-winner went on to say she wants to “spread light where there’s shade,” which is a good thing because a LOT of shade was thrown her way on Twitter after the joke fail.

Ellen has caught some flack in recent months for seeming to be out of touch with the average person after standing up for her comedy pal Kevin Hart during the Oscar hosting debacle, and then palling around with former President George W. Bush.

As I was writing this article, the video on YouTube was removed, which is probably for the best.

At the end of the day, I don’t think an unfunny joke makes Ellen a bad person. Every comedian has a clunker every now and then.

But perhaps cracking wise about a pandemic that’s killed thousands and comparing home situations with prisoners who barely have basic necessities might be put on the ‘no joke’ kill list.