A producer who worked on the Ellen DeGeneres Show has come out swinging against her former employer, after the talk show host announced her decision to quit the long-running program on Thursday.
In a scathing interview on Australian breakfast show Sunrise, award-winning producer Hedda Muskat said Ellen’s show was destined for failure because she’d misled her fans into believing she was a ‘nice person’.
‘The viewers have spoken. Her ratings have been in the toilet for a long, long time now, her show has not been fun, it has not been interesting,’ Hedda said.
‘The viewers have spoken’: A producer who worked on the Ellen DeGeneres Show has come out swinging against her former employer (pictured) after the talk show host announced her decision to quit the long-running program on Thursday
‘And she is not really by the way, stepping down, the viewers fired her,’ she added.
Hedda served as a producer in 2003 and was in charge of booking everyday people to appear on the show in ‘human interest’ segments.
When asked whether she was surprised by Ellen’s downfall, Hedda simply replied: ‘Not a shock at all.’
Not mincing words: Appearing on Australian breakfast show Sunrise, award-winning producer Hedda Muskat (right) said Ellen’s show was destined for failure because she’d misled her fans into believing she was a ‘nice person’
‘I think the viewers are disappointed in the phoniness she’s been projecting, as this ‘nice person’. So I feel that the viewers feel duped, in a way, that she’s not this nice person.’
‘The viewers are not going to put up with the backstage racism that goes on in the backstage bullying that goes on. So I think the viewers have woken up, finally.’
Hedda also accused Ellen of being incapable of ‘connecting’ with everyday people, and preferred to buddy up to celebrities instead.
Toxic workplace allegations: Ellen has been the centre of controversy over the past year, after being accused of workplace behaviour that created a toxic environment for her employees
‘She loved kissing a** with all the celebrities and she really was not in a position to interview real people because she really couldn’t carry a conversation with them,’ she said.
Later in the interview, Hedda shared her thoughts about Ellen’s upcoming interview with Oprah Winfrey, in which the comedian will discuss her decision to quit her talk show.
‘I am very disappointed that Oprah is lowering herself to interview Ellen. Oprah can interview kings and queens and I watch and love Oprah and I miss her and for her to interview Ellen, it’s like why? Who cares about Ellen anymore?’ Hedda said.
Ellen has been the centre of controversy over the past year, following clams that her show had an untenable workplace culture.
Hedda backed up these allegations, claiming that there were ‘over 100 employees over 19 years’ that ‘walked away with a sickened feeling about working there’.
Last year, Ellen’s popular daytime talk show faced an internal investigation following numerous allegations of a ‘toxic’ and ‘bullying’ workplace culture.
An internal memo explained that current and former staff were to be interviewed about claims of ‘mistreatment, racism and intimidation’ behind the scenes.
DeGeneres hasn’t been accused of any wrongdoing herself.
Several previous employees claimed DeGeneres was unfriendly on set and that crew members were warned not to talk to her or make eye contact.
Announcing her decision to end her show after 19 seasons, DeGeneres told The Hollywood Reporter: ‘When you’re a creative person, you constantly need to be challenged. And as great as this show is, and as fun as it is, it’s just not a challenge anymore.’
She downplayed last year’s toxic-workplace scandal, however, and insisted it was not a factor in her decision to wrap up the program.
‘It almost impacted the show,’ DeGeneres, who was not accused of wrongdoing herself but was blamed for allowing the issues to develop, told the trade publication.
‘It was very hurtful to me. I mean, very. But if I was quitting the show because of that, I wouldn’t have come back this season,’ she added.
DeGeneres, who is married to Australian actress Portia de Rossi, has apparently been considering ending the show for several years.
Meanwhile, a source told DailyMail.com: ‘She’s promised one more season after this one and will exit at the end of the 2021/2022 season – the 19th season of the show.
‘The ratings have tanked and have been truly appalling this year and Ellen knows her time is up.’
End of the line: DeGeneres, who is married to Australian actress Portia de Rossi (left), has apparently been considering ending the show for several years
The ratings for total households from February 2020 to February 2021 were down 40 per cent in New York City and Chicago; in Los Angeles she’s lost 59 per cent of viewers.
In Philly ratings in the same time period were down 32 per cent and in San Francisco she lost 50 per cent of viewers.
Since its season premiere in September, the show garnered an average of 1.5 million viewers by March – down 1.1 million from the same time-frame a year ago, which had 2.6 million average viewers.
Ratings decline: Ellen got off to a strong ratings start last fall in her 18th season season premiere when she addressed the scandal, but has seen a swift decline in the months since
The Ellen DeGeneres Show got off to a strong ratings start last fall in her 18th season premiere when she addressed the scandal, but has seen a swift decline in the months since.
‘I learned that things happen here that never should have happened,’ Ellen said in her season premiere. ‘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. I take responsibility for what happens at my show.’
Downplaying the scandal: DeGeneres told The Hollywood Reporter last year’s toxic-workplace scandal was not a factor in her decision to wrap up the program
‘This is me and 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,’ she said. ‘If that’s ever the case, I’ve let myself down and I’ve hurt myself as well because I always try to grow as a person.
‘I look at everything that comes into my life as an opportunity to learn. I got into this business to make people laugh and feel good, that’s my favorite thing to do.’
The claims of Ellen’s toxic work environment were revealed in July 2020 by one current and 10 former employees of the daytime talk show who accused three executive producers, Ed Glavin, Mary Connelly and Andy Lassner, of ‘bullying’.
Executive producers Glavin, Kevin Leman and co-executive producer Jonathan Norman were all fired from the popular talk show following the accusations leveled against them by current and former staffers.
Ellen came out with an apology after it was announced that her show was subject to a probe by WarnerMedia which looked into ‘staff experiences on set’.
The host sent her staff a memo in which she wrote she was ‘taking steps… to correct’ issues with her employees.
Apology: Ellen came out with an apology after it was announced that her show was subject to a probe by WarnerMedia which looked into ‘staff experiences on set’
‘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,’ Ellen said in the memo.
‘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,’ she added. ‘That will now change and I’m committed to ensuring this does not happen again.’
Among the allegations was one made by a black woman who claimed she suffered a number of ‘microaggressions,’ her request for a raise was ignored and she was accused of ‘walking around looking resentful and angry’ after asking for staff members to undergo diversity and inclusion training.
Scrutiny: The claims of Ellen’s toxic work environment were revealed in July 2020 by one current and 10 former employees of the daytime talk show who accused three executive producers, Ed Glavin, Mary Connelly and Andy Lassner, of ‘bullying’
Another former employee alleged they were fired after taking medical leave for one month following a suicide attempt.
A popular claim that circulated is that staff members were instructed not to speak to Ellen.
Some claims included that staff were required to chew gum before speaking to her because of her ‘sensitive nose’, and that she policed staff lunch orders and banned anyone from eating fish or meat.
BULLYING, RACISM AND A ‘TOXIC WORK ENVIRONMENT’: THE ALLEGATIONS AGAINST ELLEN
Ten former and one current member of Ellen’s staff alleged they were bullied, fired for attending family funerals or taking sick leave, while one woman claimed to have walked off the job after facing comments about her race.
‘That ‘be kind’ bulls*** only happens when the cameras are on. It’s all for show,’ one anonymous staff member said.
Staff said they were told not to talk to DeGeneres herself while she was on set, and that the day-to-day running of the show was left to producers.
The employees said they did not have first-hand experience of DeGeneres being unpleasant, but said she needs to take more responsibility for how her employees are treated.
However, allegations have mounted from other sources against the host herself – sparked by a Twitter thread from comedian Kevin T. Porter
Calling DeGeneres ‘notoriously one of the meanest people alive’, he asked people for ‘the most insane stories you’ve heard about Ellen being mean’.
The tweet received 2,600 replies and saw Porter give $600 to an LA foodbank, after promising to donate $2 for every legitimate mean story.
Claims included that staff are required to chew gum before speaking to her because of her ‘sensitive nose’, and that she polices staff lunch orders and bans anyone from eating fish or meat.
Separately, security worker Tom Majercak – who was assigned to be Ellen’s bodyguard at the 2014 Oscars – said she was ‘sly’ and ‘demeaning’ to him.
‘Ellen is the one person that I’ve been assigned to – and I’ve been assigned to quite a few celebrities – that has never taken the time to say hi to me,’ he said.
‘She’s not the person she portrays to be that she’s playing off of society.’