As reported yesterday, Ellen DeGeneres finally came forward to address allegations that The Ellen DeGeneres Show has a toxic workplace environment. In a letter, she apologized to employees and promised to do her part to make the show better. Now more allegations are coming out about the show.
Per Buzzfeed News, “According to dozens of men and women who work behind the scenes, the office is a place where sexual harassment and misconduct by top executive producers runs rampant.”
The main employee getting called out is head writer and executive producer Kevin Leman. One ex-employee claimed Leman asked him if he could perform sexual acts on him in a bathroom at a company party, One saw Leman grab a production assistant’s penis. Another employee saw him grope a production assistant in a car.
Overall, almost a dozen former employees said it was common for Leman to make sexually explicit comments in the office, especially to lower-level or young employees. One employee added, “It’s masked in sarcasm, but it’s not sarcasm.” Another pointed out, “He’d probably do it in front of 10 people, and they’d laugh because ‘it’s just Kevin being Kevin,’ but if you’re in a position of power at a company, you don’t just get to touch me like that.”
Since Buzzfeed published their article, Kevin Leman has released a statement. He said, “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. 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. 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.”