As “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” is gearing up to return to the airwaves, its longtime executive producer is speaking out.
On Sunday, Andy Lassner posted a short video to Instagram that referenced the stress caused by recent claims that DeGeneres and members of her creative team had fostered a “toxic” environment at the daytime talk show.
Lassner, an 18-time Emmy Award winner, didn’t address the allegations by both current and former “Ellen” staff members directly, but admitted it had “been a couple of rough months.”
“I’ve been away for a little bit, dealing with some stuff ― you may have read about it,” he said. “It’s when we go through these things, I guess, that we learn the most about ourselves, and maybe even some growth.”
“To tell you it hasn’t been rough would be a lie,” he added, before noting, “But I’m back [and] I have been walking.”
As of Monday afternoon, the video had been viewed more than 126,000 times.
Lassner’s remarks came about two months after BuzzFeed published two lengthy reports outlining claims of racism, intimidation and sexual misconduct behind the scenes at “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”
Warner Bros. Television, whose Telepictures subsidiary produces “Ellen,” responded by launching an internal investigation into the claims.
All of the staffers interviewed by BuzzFeed spoke on condition of anonymity and directed their accusations at senior managers and executive producers rather than DeGeneres herself. In August, however, former “Ellen” producer Hedda Muskat slammed her former boss as a “toxic host” who had condoned a “culture of fear” since the show’s early days.
When news of the initial allegations broke in June, Lassner and fellow “Ellen” executive producers Mary Connelly and Ed Glavin released a statement to HuffPost saying they were “sorry to learn that even one person in our production family has had a negative experience.”
In July, Lassner insisted that “nobody is going off the air” after one of his Twitter followers suggested that the show could be axed in the wake of the controversy. Less than a month later, it was announced that Glavin, along with executive producer Kevin Leman and co-executive producer Jonathan Norman, had left the show.
DeGeneres, who apologized to her staff in a widely circulated July memo, is now said to be working closely with Warner Bros. Television to ensure “a workplace based on respect and inclusion” ahead of her show’s Sept. 9 season premiere.
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