The Australian TV presenter talks about his “bizarre” experiences with interviews with Ellen DeGeneres for the country version of “Today” in 2013.
After several current and former DeGeneres employees came up with allegations of a toxic work environment maintained by top producers during daily talk shows, WarnerMeda began an internal investigation into the workplace culture at Ellen DeGeneres.
Among the complaints that employees had about DeGeneres was that producers often had strict rules on how to interact with it, which Australian radio host Neil Breen experienced firsthand in 2013, when he tried to organize an interview with her while working as a executive producer at Today.
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He explained that DeGeneres was initially planning to co-host a morning talk show, but the producers kept changing their plans to the point that she wouldn’t even come to Sydney, where the show was being filmed.
“The whole thing was flooded, Ellen DeGeneres would do a session-interview, wouldn’t she?” Breen explained on 4BC, where he now works as a host. “We took the whole ‘Today’ show to Melbourne at our expense, but she would do an interview with Richard Wilkins. So Richard Wilkins and I went to one of the lavish hotels in Melbourne, where everything was ready, just the two of us. Of course, because it’s the “Ellen Show,” they controlled everything. So they controlled the conversation seats, the lights, how it would work, everything. “
The host sarcastically called the meeting a “brush of fame” for him and Wilkins before revealing a strange set of rules set by the producers before the comedian arrived.
“We go in and then the producers of the ‘Ellen Show’, there were a lot of them, there were a lot of people,” he explained. “Nevertheless, the producers called us aside and said, ‘Okay, this is how it will work this morning. Ellen will arrive at 10:15 and she will be sitting in this chair and Richard will be sitting in this chair. Now Neil, no one has to talk to Ellen. So you don’t talk to her, you don’t approach her, you don’t look at her, she enters, she sits down, she talks to Richard and then Ellen leaves and we give you the thing. “
The host said he was shocked and asked how to talk to her after all this conversation without looking her in the eye.
“I considered the whole thing bizarre.”
He also accused the producers who were there when DeGeneres came of exaggerating their reactions to her jokes, and remarked that they would “giggle and laugh” at everything she said. “Finally, he had to ask to be quiet for the interview.
Breen stopped saying that DeGeneres was a bad person. He concluded that he would not know due to the limited interaction he may have with her.
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“I don’t blame Ellen because I didn’t talk to her because I wasn’t allowed.” So I don’t know if she’s nice or not. I have no idea. But I can tell you that the people who work with her used to go on eggshells all the time, and the whole thing was completely bizarre. For example, we’re here to do an interview to promote what she’s doing, but you can’t look at it? Someone will become real. “
Allegations of “toxic work environments” were addressed by show executive producers Ed Glavin, Andy Lassner and Mary Connelly in a statement to Buzzfeed News for a report in which current and former employees accused manufacturers of creating a “toxic work environment.” based on bullying and fear.
“We are really broken and we are sorry to learn that one person from our production family also had a negative experience,” they said. “We are not who we are and not what we strive for, not the mission Ellen has set for us.”
The statement explains that “the day-to-day responsibility for … the show lies entirely with” the producers.
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“We take it all very seriously and realize how many in the world are learning that we need to do better, commit to doing better and doing better,” they said.