The executive producers of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" are responding to claims that employees experienced a toxic environment while working on the popular daytime talk show.
In interviews with BuzzFeed News, one current and 10 former employees, who all wished to stay anonymous, claimed they faced racism, fear and intimidation while working on the show.
Some said they were fired after taking medical leave or bereavement days to attend funerals, while one claimed she dealt with racist comments, actions and microaggressions.
“Whenever I brought up an issue to my white male boss, he would bring up some random story about some random Black friend that he had and how they managed to get over stuff," one person alleged. "He would use his Black friend as some way to say, ‘I understand your struggle.’ But it was all performative (expletive)."
In a joint statement to USA TODAY Friday, executive producers Ed Glavin, Mary Connelly and Andy Lassner said they are "truly heartbroken and sorry to learn" about the claims.
"Over the course of nearly two decades, 3,000 episodes, and employing over 1000 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.
The statement continued, "For the record, the day to day responsibility of the Ellen show is completely on us. We take all of this very seriously and we realize, as many in the world are learning, that we need to do better, are committed to do better, and we will do better."
DeGeneres, through a spokeswoman, declined to comment.
The outlet reports that most of the former employees blamed executive producers and other senior managers for the "day-to-day toxicity," but one former employee said DeGeneres "really needs to take more responsibility."
“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,” the former employee said. “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.”
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'Ellen DeGeneres Show' producers respond to toxic workplace claims