Ellen DeGeneres opened her new talk show series with an apology and an admission that “things have happened here that should never have happened.”
On Monday, The Ellen DeGeneres Show returned to U.S. screens for the first time since allegations were made about a toxic work environment on set.
“I take this very seriously and want to say that I am very sorry for those affected,” said the host.
She said an investigation had led to “the necessary changes”.
Three major show producers were recently sacked over misconduct charges.
DeGeneres opened with a typically unemotional comic tone, telling the camera, “If you watch because you love me, thank you. If you are watching because you don’t like me, welcome. ”
Through gritted teeth, she said she had had a “great summer – super great”.
But she quickly got serious in dealing with allegations of misconduct and sexual harassment that emerged earlier this year.
“I learned that things have happened that should never have happened,” she said.
“If I’ve ever let someone down, if I’ve ever hurt their feelings, I’m sorry.”
The lady “to be nice”
She added that as a person in a position of power and privilege, the show and what went on there was her responsibility.
“We have made the necessary changes and today we are starting a new chapter,” she told viewers.
This included the announcement that studio DJ Twitch had been promoted to co-executive producer.
She joked that becoming known as “be a nice lady”, according to the show’s approval quote, was “a sticky position to take.”
“If you want to give yourself a new nickname or a new title, don’t go with the ‘be nice’ lady. Do not do it. ”
But she said that unlike reports in “the press and social media … the truth is I’m the person you see on TV.” She continued, “I am also a lot of other things. Sometimes I’m sad, I get angry, I worry, I get frustrated, I get impatient and I work on it all. I am a work in progress. ”
She said she wanted “each” of the 270 employees working on her show “to be happy and proud to be working here.”
What happened to Ellen?
DeGeneres has already apologized in an email to staff in July, saying she was “determined to make sure this doesn’t happen again”, and issued a further apology in a video meeting with her. team in August.
A spokesperson for Warner Brothers confirmed that the show “split up” from executive producers Ed Glavin and Kevin Leman, and co-executive producer Jonathan Norman, in August.
In an article published earlier this year, several former employees told Buzzfeed News they experienced racism while working on the show and some said they were fired for taking days of mourning.
The show has won over 60 Emmy Awards since it first aired in 2003.