Toxic Work Cultures and Celebrity Status


Posted By: Dr. Carol Pate

Toxic Work Cultures and Celebrity Status

Ellen DeGeneres has over 2M viewers of her The Ellen DeGeneres Show… a television program whose motto “be kind” was heralded as a breath of fresh air since its first appearance on 9/8/2003.  As we now know through numerous reports and interviews, however, this “be kind” focus did not flow much into her 270 employees. Somewhat like “Me Too” outcries, public complaints about a long-standing toxic workplace culture occurred when an additional stressor was added. In in this case, it was comedian Kevin T. Porter’s Twitter thread in March of this year asking people to share “the most insane stories you’ve heard about Ellen [DeGeneres] being mean” that was the tipping point. His tweet now has more than 2,600 replies, and BuzzFeed’s article in July further fanned the flames through publishing interviews of current and past employees. This led to internal investigations and the firing of three top executives.  This negative publicity of course needed to be addressed, and on Monday, September 21st, Ellen opened her 18th season with an apology and that she and her employees are moving forward with a plan for improvement.   

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