Just days after WarnerMedia reportedly launched an internal investigation into the daytime talk show, The Sun spoke to one current employee and 10 former staffers — all of whom allege that Ellen didn't do enough to build a friendly and comfortable work environment.
"If she wants to have her own show and have her name on the show title, she needs to be more involved to see what's going on," one source told The Sun. "I think the executive producers surround her and tell her, 'Things are going great, everybody's happy,' and she just believes that, but it's her responsibility to go beyond that."
Another said she needs to "take more responsibility" for the workplace environment, which many have described as hostile.
Other employees paint Ellen in a negative light and as someone fully determined to protect her overtly kind image, which only "happens when the cameras are on," an ex-employee said, adding that "it's all for show."
As part of the internal investigation by WarnerMedia, which distributes the show, current and former staffers are expected to be interviewed about their experiences on set.
Regardless of the findings, there is a question as to whether Ellen's reputation can ever recover. The Sun notes that many of her Hollywood friends haven't exactly lined up to back her publicly.
"Ellen has gained a reputation as a friend to the stars, but A-listers would have to take great risks to publicly defend the show," a source said. "The explosion of the #MeToo movement has really shone a light on workplace conduct in Hollywood. Studios are under pressure to change the culture."
On paper, the 62-year-old comedian and her show appear to be the picture of positivity. However, Ellen's stature started crumbling in March after comedian Kevin T. Porter branded her as "notoriously one of the meanest people alive" and asked people to share their most "insane" stories about her. Soon, stories of Ellen's alleged demeaning behavior toward staff went viral, and the claims have continued to drip out.
Us Weekly reported on May 13 that, according to a source, Ellen was "at the end of her rope" regarding the claims that her super-nice public persona is all a sham.
"She thought this was all just sour grapes from a few haters. But it's not a passing thing — the hits just keep coming," said the source.
In early July, Ellen's production company even had to fend off rumors that her show was on the verge of getting canceled amid both the allegations and falling ratings.
Ellen has not publicly addressed the criticism, but her executive producers said in a joint statement they take their employees' stories "very seriously."
"Over the course of nearly two decades, 3,000 episodes, and employing over 1,000 staff members, we have strived to create an open, safe and inclusive work environment. We are truly heartbroken and sorry to learn that even one person in our production family has had a negative experience," the statement read. "It's not who we are and not who we strive to be and not the mission Ellen has set for us."