Controversy has been swarming around Ellen for months, and now that the show has returned, Ellen DeGeneres has addressed that controversy head-on. She made an on-air apology that received mixed reviews, and now, many are wondering what steps she took to fix the toxic behavior that her show was accused of perpetrating against her employees.
What happened to Andy on 'Ellen'?
Andy Lassner, a producer on Ellen who has been with the show since it started in 2003, is still with the show now. The show did announce that three of its senior producers would be fired as a result of the accusations that the workplace was toxic. Andy was not one of the producers fired, and will remain a producer on the show. In an Instagram video posted in August, Andy said that he had been away from the site because of the controversy.
"It's been a couple of rough months. But it's when we go through these things, I guess, when we learn the most about ourselves, and maybe even some growth," Andy said in his video. "But to tell you it hasn't been rough would be a lie, and I've always been honest with you. It's been rough. But I'm back." There has been no indication that Andy's role, which has involved occasional participation in segments, will change moving forward.
Ellen faced some backlash from current and former employees following her apology.
In her apology, Ellen took responsibility for the culture that had been perpetuated on the show. "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,” Ellen said. “I know that I'm in a position of privilege and power and I realized that with that comes responsibility, and I take responsibility for what happens at my show.”
Before she got heartfelt, though, she made a joke about what a difficult summer she'd had. “How was everybody’s summer? Good, yeah? Mine was great. Super terrific,” she said at the start of her show. “Let me give you some advice out there if anybody's thinking of changing their title or giving yourself a nickname, do not go with the 'be kind' lady. Don’t do it.”
Some employees found those jokes disingenuous, suggesting that they didn't reflect the seriousness of the problems on Ellen.
“When she said, ‘Oh, my summer was great’ and that was supposed to be funny I thought, ‘It’s funny that you had a rough summer because everyone was calling out all of the allegations of your toxic work environment and now you’re the one suffering?'" one former employee told BuzzFeed.
Other employees added that, given the weight of the allegations made by current and former employees, it didn't feel appropriate to put any jokes in the monologue. “When you’re talking about people who have accused her leadership of the seriousness of sexual misconduct, I don’t think it’s appropriate to have jokes in the monologue,” another former employee added.