Dozens of former employees for the “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” are accusing the show’s top executive producers of sexual harassment and misconduct. Former employees ranging from longtime senior-level employees to production assistants claim they witnessed the abuses on multiple occasions.
All 36 former employees interviewed voluntarily left the show. Many corroborated incidents of harassment, sexual misconduct, and assault.
One of the main targets of the allegations is head writer and executive producer, Kevin Leman. During a company party in 2013, one ex-employee claims Leman asked him if he could give him a hand job or perform oral sex in a bathroom, Buzzfeed reports. Furthermore, in May of 2017, another former employee claims she watched Leman kiss a production assistant’s neck and grope him while in a car.
A former employee says producers tried to label Leman’s inappropriate comments and behavior as humor. “It’s masked in sarcasm, but it’s not sarcasm,” a former employee said.
Former employees also added that many of Leman’s targets were lower-level or younger. “He’d probably do it in front of 10 people and they’d laugh because ‘it’s just Kevin being Kevin,’ but if you’re in a position of power at a company, you don’t just get to touch me like that,” a former employee said.
‘Ellen Show’ Producer Denies Sexual Misconduct Allegations
In a newly released statement in response to the allegations, Leman claims that his comments were an attempt at humor. “I started at the Ellen Show as a PA more than 17 years ago and have devoted my career to work my way to the position I now hold,” he said. “While my job as head writer is to come up with jokes — and, during that process, we can occasionally push the envelope — I’m horrified that some of my attempts at humor may have caused offense.”
He continued by vehemently denying any allegations. Leman also takes issue with the writers that published the original story. “I have always aimed to treat everyone on the staff with kindness, inclusivity and respect,” Leman said. “In my whole time on the show, to my knowledge, I’ve never had a single HR or inter-personal complaint made about me, and I am devastated beyond belief that this kind of malicious and misleading article could be published.”
Dozens of employees also made allegations against executive producer Ed Glavin. They claim he “had a reputation for being handsy with women.”
One former employee claims Glavin regularly inappropriately touched her in the control room. “You could definitely see the creep factor and the creepy touching. That was out in the open for everybody to see,” the ex-employee said. “Obviously, no one wants that and no one wants to be uncomfortably touched by someone… but you didn’t want to piss them off or you would be fired, so it was just that culture of fear.”
Ellen DeGeneres Weighs In
DeGeneres offered an apology to the former employees saying the show intended to be a place where “everyone would be treated with respect.”
She continued by adding: “Obviously, something changed, and I am disappointed to learn that this has not been the case. And for that, I am sorry. Anyone who knows me knows it’s the opposite of what I believe and what I hoped for our show.”
DeGeneres also penned a letter to the staff. “My name is on the show and everything we do and I take responsibility for that,” she writes. She says that she “relied on others to do their jobs as they knew I’d want them done.” Then adding, “Clearly some didn’t.” Read the full story on Buzzfeed.