An Australian TV host is talking about his “strange” experience while interviewing Ellen DeGeneres for the country version of the “Today” program in 2013.
After several current and former employees for DeGeneres submitted allegations of a toxic work environment perpetrated by top producers on the daytime talk show, WarnerMeda launched an internal investigation into workplace culture during “The Ellen DeGeneres Show . “
Among the complaints employees had about DeGeneres is that producers often had strict rules about how to interact with it, which Australian radio host Neil Breen first experienced in 2013 when he was trying to arrange an interview with her during who worked as an executive producer on “Today.”;
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He explained that DeGeneres was initially going to host the morning talk show, but the producers continued to change plans to the point where she wouldn’t even get to Sydney, where the show is filmed.
“The whole thing sprinkled with, Ellen DeGeneres doing an interview to sit down, right?” Breen explained on 4BC, where he now works as a host. “We took the whole ‘Today’ show in Melbourne at our expense but she was going to do a seated interview with Richard Wilkins. So Richard Wilkins and I went to one of the flashy hotels in Melbourne, where it all stopped , just the two of us. Needless to say, because it’s the “Ellen Show,” they controlled everything. So they controlled the interview seats, the lights, how it works, everything. “
The host sarcastically called the meeting a “brush with fame” for him and Wilkins before revealing the weird set of rules the producers set before the comedian arrived.
“We go in and then the producers of‘ Ellen Show ’, there were a lot of them, there were a lot of people there,” he explained. “Anyway the producers called us and said ‘OK as I’m going to work here this morning. Ellen will be here at 10:15 and she will be sitting here in this chair and Richard you will be sitting in this chair here. Now Neil, no one should talk to Ellen, so don’t talk to her, don’t approach her, don’t look at her, she’ll come in, she’ll meet, she’ll talk to Richard and then Ellen will leave and we’ll give you the thing . “
The host said he was shocked and asked how they were supposed to interview her after they arrived this way without looking her in the eye.
“I found the whole thing strange.”
He also accused the producers of being there once DeGeneres came to exaggerate their reaction to her jokes, noting that she would “join in and laugh” at “everything she said.” He eventually had to ask them to be quiet for the purposes of the interview.
Breen paused to say that DeGeneres was a bad person. He concluded that he did not know because of the limited interaction he was allowed to have with her.
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“I’m not writing to Ellen because I wasn’t talking to her because I wasn’t allowed to. So, I don’t know if she’s a beautiful person or not. I have no clue. But I can tell the people who work with her walking on eggshells “All the time and the whole thing was totally weird. Like, we’re there to do an interview to promote what you’re doing, but you can’t look at it? Someone becomes real.”
Allegations of a “toxic work environment” were addressed by show executive producers Ed Glavin, Andy Lassner and Mary Connelly in a statement to Buzzfeed News for a report in which current and former employees blamed the show. producers who create a “toxic work environment” based on bullying and fear.
“We are truly heartbroken and sorry to learn that even one person in our production family has had a negative experience,” they said. “Not who we are and not who we strive to be, and not the mission Ellen set up for us.”
The statement explained that the responsibility of … the daily show is entirely on “the producers.
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“We take all of this seriously and realize, as many in the world are learning, that we need to do better, committed to doing better, and we will do better,” they said.