Ellen DeGeneres Staffer Speaks on 'Toxic' Host as Wife Portia de Rossi Defends Her
Dozens of Ellen DeGeneres Show employees have spoken out on the show's "toxic" work environment, and claimed that racism, sexual harassment were rife and tacitly approved on-set. Ellen DeGeneres has sought to distance herself from the allegations, but former producer Hedda Muskat says she was well aware of the issues.
In an interview with The Wrap, Muskat explains she joined the show in 2003, when it was just beginning. She says a "culture of fear" was a problem from the get-go.
"I had never seen this before," the Daytime Emmy Award winner, who previously worked on The Howie Mandel Show and The Martin Short Show, says. "I had never been around a toxic host."
Muskat adds that exec producer Ed Glavin made the environment worse. When he "went off" on staffers, she remembers "waiting for Ellen to say something" to Glavin, but she allegedly "giggled" instead. Muskats continues: "She crossed her legs up on the chair and she said, ‘Well, I guess every production needs their dog.' 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. … She was the only one giggling."
She says she was let go, days before winning her first Emmy. "They call me in and Ed says, ‘Congratulations on the nomination. We really appreciate what you've done, but we no longer need your services,'" she recalls, noting that Glavin told her producers were "taking the show in a different direction."
Warner Bros. is investigating misconduct at the show.
PORTIA DE ROSSI
De Rossi, meanwhile, is standing by her 62-year-old wife.
The 47-year-old writes on social media: "To all our fans....we see you. Thank you for your support," adding the hashtags #stopbotattacks, #IStandWithEllenDeGeneres, #IStandByEllen, #IstandByEllenDeGeneres and #bekindtooneanother, the phrase with which DeGeneres closes out her show each day.
Other Hollywood insiders have not been as supportive. Comedian Kevin Porter dubbed her "notoriously one of the meanest people alive," and Brad Garrett and Lea Thompson also slammed her. Other old friends and allies—from Jennifer Aniston to Oprah Winfrey to the Kardashians—have been silent.