Ellen DeGeneres apologizes to staff, announces departures of 3 producers

"The Ellen DeGeneres Show," the subject of a probe by Warner Media after allegations of a toxic workplace culture, is slated to return to the airwaves on Sept. 14.
/ Source: TODAY

As Monday marked the first full day of production of the beleaguered “Ellen DeGeneres Show,” officially in its 18th season, DeGeneres addressed staff on a video conference call to announce staff changes and to issue an apology.

Executive producers Ed Glavin, Kevin Leman and Jonathan Norman have “parted ways” with the daytime talk show, a spokesperson for Warner Bros. confirmed to TODAY.

DeGeneres told staffers she is sorry for what the show had become, saying she had let it run like a machine instead of seeing staff as people, sources told TODAY. She added that she is proud and grateful for the staff and to be starting the 18th season, sources said, and hopes the show can be a happy place for workers.

DeGeneres also said she tries to be the best person she can be and learn from her mistakes.

Staff returned remotely to work earlier this month after the summer hiatus amid an internal investigation following a BuzzFeed story that featured one current employee and 10 former staffers who claimed they endured a culture of racism, fear and intimidation while working for the show.

They blamed senior managers for allowing the behavior.

"The biggest common thread that everyone told me is that what goes on behind the scenes is a far cry from what the show represents in their 'be kind' messaging and what the show and what Ellen DeGeneres herself profits off of," BuzzFeed entertainment editor Krystie Yandoli previously told TODAY.

Michael Plonsker, an attorney representing Kevin Leman, told TODAY in statement Tuesday that Leman is “devastated by being scapegoated” and is not ready to comment.

“The fact that a deeply flawed BuzzFeed article has led to the termination of an innocent man — a popular figure and a creative force behind the “Ellen” show and a string of other projects produced with Ellen — is shocking,” he said.

Glavin and Norman did not immediately respond to TODAY’s request for comment.

NBC News has spoken to multiple former staffers at “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” who corroborate the accusations of misconduct by senior management but said they cannot speak publicly because they are bound by nondisclosure agreements and fear retribution.

DeGeneres addressed the BuzzFeed report in a memo to staff on July 30.

"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," she wrote. "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."