Ellen showers staff with new perks
Ellen DeGeneres has offered up a suite of perks in response to mounting allegations of a toxic work environment behind the scenes of her daytime show.
According to Page Six, the host, 62, has offered staffers increased paid time off and a generous medical leave policy.
The outlet reports that executive producers Andy Lassner and Mary Connelly on Monday delivered the news, with sources claiming it was something DeGeneres and the senior team felt strongly about, given that they produce more than 170 shows per year.
Clearly, the Ellen show isn't going anywhere, despite initial reports DeGeneres was ready to "shut down" the show amid WarnerMedia's ongoing investigation.
The new benefits package also includes birthdays off and paid time for medical appointments and family matters.
Insiders told Page Six that the new perks and a direct address from DeGeneres this week have improved morale on the set, as rehearsals for DeGeneres' spin-off show Ellen's Game Of Games resumed. The talk show team also started to return to work to wake up production offices and sound stages.
A separate source added that DeGeneres will return to set next week and some staffers are excited to "move forward" from the drama.
It comes after the comedian directly addressed the "insane" no-eye-contact policy allegedly enforced on employees.
During an all-staff meeting on Monday afternoon, DeGeneres denied being the mastermind behind it.
"I don't know where it started," DeGeneres said. "Please talk to me. Look me in the eye."
Describing the rumoured rule as "insane," she continued: "It's crazy, just not true, I don't know how it started. (It's) not who I am."
According to Variety, she was "emotional" as she addressed the team.
A former producer of the Today show in July revealed DeGeneres' staff's "bizarre" demands when she made an appearance on the show back in 2013.
"'She'll come in, she'll sit down, she'll talk to (host) Richard (Wilkins) and then Ellen will leave,'" Neil Breen recalled her staff telling him. "And I sort of said, 'I can't look at her?' I found the whole thing bizarre."
People magazine reports that during the video meeting on Monday, DeGeneres told staff she "wasn't perfect" but would try to change.
"I'm a multi-layered person, and I try to be the best person I can be and I try to learn from my mistakes," the host said, according to a source.
She added: "I'm hearing that some people felt that I wasn't kind or too short with them, or too impatient. I apologise to anybody if I've hurt your feelings in any way."
Sources also told Page Six DeGeneres plans to interact with her staff more while working on the show's upcoming season, which she was excited to get back to.
WarnerMedia is reportedly nearing the end of its investigation into The Ellen DeGeneres Show, which already ousted three top producers from its ranks - executive producers Ed Glavin and Kevin Leman and co-executive producer Jonathan Norman.
The top producers' removal came after staffers accused them of a toxic work environment and sexual misconduct.
This article originally appeared in the NY Post and was reproduced with permission.
Originally published as Ellen showers staff with new perks