Ellen DeGeneres has had quite a summer, and the host wasted no time in addressing it when she returned to the studio this morning.
During her opening monologue, the lesbian trailblazer spoke candidly about allegations of a toxic work environment that have plagued The Ellen DeGeneres Show since July, when a Buzzfeed report jumpstarted an intense dialogue among former staffers who accused top producers of harassment, intimidation, and racism.
"As you may have heard, this summer there were allegations of a toxic work environment at our show and then there was an investigation. I learned that things happened here that never should have happened. I take that every seriously and I want to say I am so sorry to the people that were affected. I know that I am in a position of privilege and power and with that comes responsibility and I take responsibility for what happens at my show," she said, adding that she is now "taking responsibility for what happens at my show."
Following the BuzzFeed report, WarnerMedia, the parent company for the studio that produces the show, launched a third-party investigation. DeGeneres remained silent through the summer until news leaked that she had apologized to staff for the allegations.
"As we've grown exponentially, I've not been able to stay on top of everything and relied on others to do their jobs as they knew I'd want them done. Clearly some didn't," she wrote in the email.
During today's premiere, the host also acknowledged that the show has since made "the necessary changes," alluding to the firings of producers Ed Glavin, Kevin Leman, and Jonathan Norman, who were at the center of the harassment allegations.
"Sometimes I get sad, I get mad, I get anxious, I get frustrated, I get impatient," she said in reference to claims that she hasn't been nice to her staff over the years. "And I am working on all of that. I am a work in progress. I am especially working on the impatience thing, and it's not going well because it's not happening fast enough, I will tell you that."
"We have had a lot of conversations over the last few weeks about the show, the workplace and what we want for the future. We have made the necessary changes and today we are starting a new chapter," she said. "Being known as the 'be kind' lady is a tricky position to be in. So let me give you some advice out there if anybody's thinking of changing their title or giving yourself a nickname, do not go with the 'be kind' lady. Don't do it. The truth is I am that person that you see on TV."