The announcement put an end to widespread speculation that Ellen was planning to step away in a bid to recover her personal brand.
On July 16, Buzzfeed published an article in which one current employee and 10 former staffers alleged that they had experienced a workplace culture of racism, fear, and intimidation — a far cry from Ellen’s iconic “be kind” mantra. They pointed to senior managers for allowing this behavior.
In the wake of the allegations, Ellen was reported to have felt betrayed and expressed a desire to leave the show behind.
Yet as staff returned remotely on Monday after a summer hiatus, a source close to Ellen’s production told NBC that “no one is stepping in or taking over.”
They added that the investigation into the claims involves a third party and is “still ongoing” ahead of a September 9 return to the airwaves.
A different insider previously told the broadcaster that Ellen is not the focus of the investigation, although a number of ex-staffers have called for the host to take some accountability, citing the fact that the show runs under her name and face.
Ellen‘s producers held a call with employees on their first day back at work in a bid to address media reports, a source told US Weekly.
“They said a lot of [the claims are] true and a lot of it is not true. They said we are handling everything [and] things will be very different now. … A show that brings so much happiness and fun, it should be a happy show to work on,” the source said.
“They said Ellen is not giving up and the show will go on. … That woman brings so much joy to people that it would break a lot of hearts to stop doing this show. It was a pep talk and made some staffers feel better.”
After the Buzzfeed article’s publication, more former The Ellen Show staffers spoke out, including Hedda Muskat, a producer at the time of the 2003 launch. Muskat claimed a negative culture developed early on amongst the staff, led by those in senior positions.
Executive producers Ed Glavin, Andy Lassner, and Mary Connelly addressed the situation in a Buzzfeed statement, in which they vowed to take the allegations seriously and strived to do better.