The Ellen DeGeneres Show has upgraded its perks for its staff, perhaps as an effort to assuage the relationship between workers and higher-ups.
New benefits include increased paid time off and a lenient medical leave policy, Variety reports. Staffers will have five paid days off to use whenever they want, birthdays off, and granted paid time for doctor's appointments and family matters. Ellen senior producers Mary Connelly and Andy Lassner shared the news with staff on Monday via a virtual town hall. Workers were also joined by an emotional DeGeneres, who apologized for the multiple reports of harmful behavior, as well as the purported on-set toxicity that happened “on her watch.”
DeGeneres also talked about her shoddy communication with her team and said that she only found out about the show’s problems through Variety, which left her “heartbroken.” The latest news comes on the heels of the show firing three of the show’s top producers, Ed Glavin, Jonathan Norman, and Kevin Leman after they were accused of fostering a toxic workplace and sexual misconduct via a July report from BuzzFeed News. The dismissed producers were facing claims of sexual harassment and racism, and creating an atmosphere based on fear and intimidation. The producers were let go less than a month after WarnerMedia began its investigation into the allegations.
Sources say that the additional perks and discussion with DeGeneres has boosted morale this week, just as rehearsals for DeGeneres spinoff show Ellen’s Game of Games continued, and the talk show began resuming its own production efforts.
Since WarnerMedia launched its own inquiry, the company has provided a human resources executive that has been present during Zoom meetings. The HR rep doesn’t report to show leadership, which aids in offering anonymity to workers who have complaints.
Connelly and Lassner also told staff “don't be afraid” during the call, regarding communication about workplace issues, conditions surrounding the pandemic, and rumors that staff shouldn’t look DeGeneres in the eye.