A former “Ellen DeGeneres Show” producer slammed the comedian as a “toxic host” in an interview published on Monday.
Hedda Muskat, who worked on the syndicated talk show in its early days in 2003 and 2004, told The Wrap that the comedian allowed a “culture of fear” from the show’s beginning. Muskat, who won two Daytime Emmy Awards for her work on the show, said she had “never seen” such “toxic host” behavior.
The interview follows reports in BuzzFeed News last month saying that De Generes’ show fostered rampant sexual misconduct and that employees “faced racism, fear, and intimidation” at work.
One incident involving executive producer Ed Glavin showed the tone of the workplace, Muskat said. Glavin is one of three show executives who have been accused of sexual misconduct.
Muskat claimed Glavin started screaming at a staffer and “went off on them” in a meeting. She said she expected DeGeneres to do something, but instead the host giggled.
“She crossed her legs up on the chair and she said, ‘Well, I guess every production needs their dog,’” Muskat said. “And from then we knew. Ed was going to be the barking dog — her dog. You could just see everybody’s faces go stiff. We’re professionals; we’re adults. We don’t need a dog to get us to do our jobs.”
“Ed was a bully, but he worked for Ellen,” Muskat said. “It was her show.”
After BuzzFeed’s first article about the show’s culture on July 16, “Ellen DeGeneres Show” executive producers Glavin, Mary Connelly and Andy Lassner vowed “to do better” in a statement to HuffPost.
“It’s not who we are and not who we strive to be, and not the mission Ellen has set for us,” the producers said.
Warner Bros. last week confirmed it was conducting an internal investigation of the show. DeGeneres addressed the workplace allegations on July 30 in a memo apologizing to her staff.
Muskat said in her interview that the apology won’t “make a difference” because DeGeneres “is who she is.”
After DeGeneres’ apology, “Everybody Loves Raymond” actor Brad Garrett called out the host on Twitter.
“Know more than one who were treated horribly by her,” wrote Garrett, who has appeared as a guest multiple times on the show. “Common knowledge.”
“Back to the Future” star Lea Thompson backed Garrett’s claim, writing “true story” in response to an article citing the actor’s comments.
Scooter Braun, manager to stars like Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande and Demi Lovato, defended DeGeneres on his social media accounts.
“People love to take shots at people. They love to see people fall. How quickly so many forget,” Braun wrote. He said DeGeneres “is a kind, thoughtful, courageous human being who stands for what is right and highlights on her show the best of us.”
Lassner, addressing swirling speculation about the show’s possible cancellation, said on Twitter that “nobody is going off the air.”
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