Dozens of former employees of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” have accused top executive producers of rampant sexual harassment and misconduct. According to a report from BuzzFeed News, one former employee alleged that a producer requested oral sex from him in the bathroom during a company party.
BuzzFeed News said they spoke to 36 former employees of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” The former staffers did not reveal their identities in fear of retribution. The report states that many of the former employees “independently corroborated incidents of harassment, sexual misconduct, and assault from top producers.”
“One ex-employee said head writer and executive producer Kevin Leman asked him if he could give him a hand job or perform oral sex in a bathroom at a company party in 2013,” the report alleged. “Another said they separately saw Leman grab a production assistant’s penis.”
A former employee of the massively popular daytime talk show accused Leman of groping a production assistant inside a vehicle and kissing his neck in May of 2017.
Nearly a dozen former staffers claim that Leman would make “explicit comments in the office, including pointing out male workers’ bulges in their crotches, or ask them questions such as, ‘Are you a top or a bottom?'”
Leman refuted the allegations.
“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 told BuzzFeed in a statement. “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.”
“I have always aimed to treat everyone on the staff with kindness, inclusivity and respect,” Leman continued. “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 former employees said executive producer Ed Glavin “had a reputation for being handsy with women,” especially in the control room.
“You could definitely see the creep factor and the creepy touching,” one ex-employee alleged. “That was out in the open for everybody to see.”
“‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’ is, and has always strived to be, a place that brings positivity to the world. And though not all of the allegations were corroborated, we are disappointed that the primary findings of the investigation indicated some deficiencies related to the show’s day-to-day management,” the statement read.
“We have identified several staffing changes, along with appropriate measures to address the issues that have been raised, and are taking the first steps to implement them,” the statement continued. “Warner Bros. and Ellen DeGeneres are all committed to ensuring a workplace based on respect and inclusion. We are confident this course of action will lead us to the right way forward for the show.”
BuzzFeed published another damning report in mid-July claiming the show’s work environment is “toxic.” One current and 10 former staffers allege they experienced “racism, fear, and intimidation” while working for “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”
Glavin, and fellow executive producers Mary Connelly and Andy Lassner, issued a statement regarding the allegations.
“For the record, the day to day responsibility of the ‘Ellen’ show is completely on us,” they said. “We take all of this very seriously and we realize, as many in the world are learning, that we need to do better, are committed to do better, and we will do better.”
The Hollywood Reporter reported that Glavin would be let go and “others are expected to be out as well.”
On Thursday, DeGeneres addressed the controversy by sending an email to the staff.
“As we’ve grown exponentially, I’ve not been able to stay on top of everything and relied on others to do their jobs as they knew I’d want them done. Clearly some didn’t,” the beleaguered talk show host wrote. “That will now change and I’m committed to ensuring this does not happen again.”
DeGeneres is one of several celebrities who have been falsely linked to convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. After documents were unsealed from a 2015 defamation lawsuit against Ghislaine Maxwell this week, a conspiracy theory spread online that fallaciously claimed DeGeneres took flights on Epstein’s private plane dubbed the “Lolita Express.”