Three dozen former employees of The Ellen DeGeneres Show have told BuzzFeed News that top producers on the show engaged in blatant sexual harassment and misconduct, from getting “handsy with women” to groping and making sexual propositions. All 36 of the former employees who spoke to the publication requested anonymity out of fear of retaliation. Several of them reportedly singled out head writer and executive producer Kevin Leman for allegedly making sexual comments, while one former employee alleged Leman sexually propositioned him at a company party in 2013, and two others said they’d witnessed Leman grope lower level assistants. Five other ex-employees accused executive producer Ed Glavin of gratuitous touching and being “handsy with women.” Neither Leman nor Glavin have responded to the allegations.
“We’re young people who were forming our careers and were unfortunately subjected to a toxic work environment as some of our first jobs out of college,” said one of the ex-employees, who accused a co-executive producer of “grooming” him. Responding to the allegations in a letter to staff on Thursday, DeGeneres apologized and said she had “not been able to stay on top of everything” but was “committed to ensuring this does not happen again.” Warner Bros. cited an ongoing internal investigation that it said had uncovered some “deficiencies related to the show’s day-to-day management.” The studio didn’t go into detail about specific allegations but said it would be “taking the first steps” to address the current issues, including “several staffing changes” and other undisclosed “appropriate measures.”