Ellen’s co-star speaks out against show
The Ellen DeGeneres Show's former DJ has broken his silence about allegations of a toxic work environment on the daytime talk show, saying he experienced the "toxicity."
Tony Okungbowa appeared on the show from 2003-2006 and 2007-2013 before being replaced by Stephen "tWitch" Boss.
In an Instagram post, Okungbowa wrote: "I have been getting calls asking me about the Ellen DeGeneres Show and I would like to address the time I spent there … While I am grateful for the opportunity it afforded me, I did experience and feel the toxicity of the environment and I stand with my former colleagues in their quest to create a healthier and more inclusive workplace as the show moves forward."
Okungbowa's comments follow last month's bombshell Buzzfeed report in which a group of former and current Ellen Show staff sensationally spoke out against the program.
Ten former and one current Ellen employee - all speaking anonymously - described a "toxic work environment" with a culture of "racism, fear and intimidation".
"That 'be kind' bulls**t only happens when the cameras are on. It's all for show," one former employee was quoted as saying.
Former employees alleged to Buzzfeed that they'd been fired for taking medical leave, attending family funerals, and one for posting a selfie in the office on her Instagram Stories.
One person who escaped relatively lightly in the article: Ellen herself. She barely figured in the employee complaints, aside from one employee alleging they were told never to talk to her if they saw her around the office.
In a statement to Buzzfeed, Ellen executive producers Ed Glavin, Mary Connelly, and Andy Lassner insisted that "the day to day responsibility of the Ellen show is completely on us. We take all of this very seriously and we realise, as many in the world are learning, that we need to do better, are committed to do better, and we will do better."
As a result of the allegations, an internal investigation into the show was launched by WarnerMedia. That investigation is ongoing.
And last week, just hours after an apology letter from Ellen to her staff was published, dozens of former Ellen staffers spoke out in a shocking new Buzzfeed report, alleging sexual misconduct from several top producers on her show.
Many of the allegations centre upon head writer and executive producer Keith Leman, who has been accused of groping and propositioning male staff members.
Others allege they were inappropriately touched by producer Ed Glavin, who is reportedly parting ways with The Ellen Show.
In total, Buzzfeed spoke to 47 current and former The Ellen Show employees.
"Even though I was being abused (at work) constantly, Ed putting his arm around you in the control room was like the nicest experience you had all day, as messed up as that sounds," one female former employee said.
Originally published as Ellen's co-star speaks out against show