Ellen DeGeneres’ employees are upset with the lack of transparency and communication from the production of her daytime talk show.
While Ellen does her best to make sure everything is “business as usual” in front of the cameras on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," things behind-the-scenes are a different story.
Two sources associated with the show, who chose to remain anonymous, reached out to Variety to express the crew’s frustration with the production's poor communication about working hours, pay, and the program's new remote show.
According to the publication, the show’s main stage crew, which is roughly 30 employees, was kept in the dark about hours and payment for more than a month.
When they eventually heard from production executives last week, the staff was informed of a 60% pay cut despite the show airing remote episodes. A spokesperson for Warner Brothers simply confirmed that staff was getting paid for reduced hours.
The sources also revealed the crew was “furious” upon finding out that the remote show, which is filmed at Ellen’s California mansion, hired a non-union tech company based in Burbank.
The company is said to handle aspects of production that the show’s crew is qualified and able to handle.
A spokesperson for Warner Brothers explained the decision to hire Key Code Media writing, “Due to social distancing requirements, technical changes in the way the show is produced had to be made to comply with city ordinances and public health protocols.” The spokesperson also assured that no crew members have lost their jobs as a result.
The crew reportedly wasn’t even informed that the talk show host was expanding her “at-home” show from four shows to five shows a week.
They allege that only four core members are currently working on the series.
As Ellen’s crew is outraged by the “lack of personal outreach,” the situation is made worse by news that staff on similar talk shows have been paid normal wages amid the pandemic.
The publication notes Jimmy Kimmel paid his crew out of pocket during the shut down, and when the show returned to air, ABC paid normal rates.
Ellen’s has had quite the controversial return to television.
The comedian faced backlash shortly after resuming her talk show when she made a bold joke comparing the time she spent in quarantine to jail.
Fans and social media users called it “tone deaf,” with many pointing out that the Emmy winner's lavish mansion could not be compared to the overcrowded prisons where inmates are exposed to the spread of coronavirus.