Ellen DeGeneres’ brother came to his sister’s defense this week as allegations about the daytime talk show host’s workplace demeanor continue to make headlines.
Actor and former “The Daily Show” correspondent Vance DeGeneres described his sibling as “one of the kindest, most generous people you’ll ever meet” on Twitter Tuesday. To those who believe Ellen would “knowingly allow bullying or racism” to take place on her show, he added, “You don’t know my sister.”
Later Tuesday, Vance expanded on his thoughts in a strongly worded post on Facebook.
“My sister is being viciously attacked,” he wrote. “And let me assure you — it is all bullshit. … If you don’t support Ellen, then you don’t support me, so please unfriend me.”
Ellen “always has ― and always will ― stand against bullying of any kind,” he added. “She’s a smart, strong woman who has made a positive difference in the world.”
Vance’s statements come in response to a flurry of troubling claims about working conditions at “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” which is now undergoing an internal investigation by Warner Bros. Television, whose Telepictures subsidiary produces the show.
A July 16 BuzzFeed story featured accounts from 10 former “Ellen” staff members and one current employee who said they were subjected to racism and intimidation on set.
A second set of allegations emerged in a follow-up story published July 30, in which BuzzFeed spoke to “dozens” of male and female “Ellen” employees who alleged sexual misconduct and assault involving several members of the show’s creative staff.
Most of the claims outlined by BuzzFeed were directed at executive producers and senior managers rather than Ellen DeGeneres herself, who has since apologized to her crew in a widely reported memo. But former “Ellen” producer Hedda Muskat described her ex-boss to The Wrap this week as a “toxic host” who condoned a “culture of fear” on the show.
Muskat’s statements have since been corroborated by Tony Okungbowa, who worked on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” as DJ Tony from 2003 to 2006 and again from 2007 to 2013.
“While I am grateful for the opportunity it afforded me, I did experience and feel the toxicity of the environment,” Okungbowa wrote on Instagram Tuesday. “I stand with my former colleagues in their quest to create a healthier and more inclusive workplace as the show moves forward.”
HuffPost reached out to “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” for comment on this story.
On Wednesday, People reported that Ellen DeGeneres was working closely with Warner Bros. TV to ensure “a workplace based on respect and inclusion” ahead of the show’s Sept. 9 season premiere.
When news of the initial allegations first broke last month, “Ellen” executive producers Ed Glavin, Mary Connelly and Andy Lassner told HuffPost in a statement that they were “sorry to learn that even one person in our production family has had a negative experience.”
“It’s not who we are and not who we strive to be, and not the mission Ellen has set for us,” they wrote. “We take all of this very seriously and we realize, as many in the world are learning, that we need to do better, are committed to do better, and we will do better.”
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