The producers relieved of their duties include executive producers Ed Glavin, Kevin Leman, and co-executive producer Jonathan Norman. The show plans to replace them with “Ellen” show veterans Mary Connelly, Andy Lassner, and Derek Westervelt, Variety reports.
The firings come as a result of accusations lodged against the senior production team alleging sexual misconduct, racial insensitivity, and other issues in the workplace. In a statement, Leman’s lawyer, Michael Plonsker, says his client does not deserve the blame.
“The fact that a deeply flawed BuzzFeed article has led to the termination of an innocent man — a popular figure and a creative force behind the ‘Ellen’ show and a string of other projects produced with Ellen – is shocking,” Plonsker said. “Kevin is devastated by being scapegoated and is not yet ready to comment.”
The ‘Ellen DeGeneres Show’ Moving Forward
“Ellen” staffers received the news on Monday afternoon during a staff meeting. Ellen DeGeneres, 62, spoke to the staff via videoconference call.
The talk show host reportedly offered apologies to the staff during the call. She expressed that she’s “not perfect” while also realizing that leadership did not always act as sensitive to “human beings” as they should. DeGeneres also called that the allegations regarding the show’s environment “heartbreaking.”
The original allegations against Glavin, Leman, and Norman came in a July 30 story published by Buzzfeed. The show suspended the three of them after the report surfaced.
During the staff meeting, Connelly and Lassner addressed the results of Warner Bros. internal investigation. After interviewing over 100 people connected to the show, the studio found no evidence of “systemic” racism. However, Connelly and Lassner add that the show could do more in terms of diversity and inclusion.
Despite recent incidents, DeGeneres remains optimistic. She told staffers at the end of the meeting, “This will be the best season we’ve ever had.”