Ellen DeGeneres addresses toxic work environment scandal on show’s Season 18 return: ‘I take responsibility’

The talk show host voiced her commitment to growing as a person

Ellen DeGeneres started Season 18 of her show by addressing the accusations of a toxic work environment.

The claims of a toxic work environment and sexual misconduct have plagued the host’s reputation over the past few months.

In her opening monologue, which first appeared on the show’s YouTube channel, DeGeneres, 62, took responsibility for the scandal.

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“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,” she began.

DeGeneres continued: “I take that very seriously and I want to say I am so sorry to the people who were affected. I know that I'm in a position of privilege and power and I realized that with that comes responsibility, and I take responsibility for what happens at my show.”

“This is 'The Ellen DeGeneres Show.' I am Ellen DeGeneres. My name is there, my name is there, my name is on underwear,” the host joked. “We have had a lot of conversations over the last few weeks about the show, our workplace and what we want for the future. We have made the necessary changes and today we are starting a new chapter.”

DeGeneres then addressed accusations that she is much different on air than in person despite her pledge to “be kind.”

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Ellen DeGeneres arrives at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. 

Ellen DeGeneres arrives at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif.  (Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

The phrase “be kind” was initially brought up by the host in 2010 to bring awareness to Tyler Clementi, who committed suicide as a teenager after he was bullied for being gay.

“There were also articles in the press and on social media that said that I am not who I appeared to be on TV, because I became known as the ‘be kind’ lady. And here's how that happened: I started saying, ‘be kind to one another’ after a young man named Tyler Clementi took his own life after being bullied for being gay,” DeGeneres said.

She added: “I thought the world needed more kindness and it was a reminder that we all needed that, and I think we need it more than ever right now.”

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Ellen DeGeneres "Relatable" special on Netflix

Ellen DeGeneres "Relatable" special on Netflix (Netflix)

“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,” DeGeneres jokingly added.

She took on a more serious tone as she said, “The truth is I am that person that you see on TV. I am that person that you see on TV. I am also a lot of other things. Sometimes I get sad, I get mad, I get anxious, I get frustrated, I get impatient. I am working on all of that. I am a work in progress. I’m especially working on the impatience thing, and it’s not going well because it’s not happening fast enough, I’ll tell you that.”

A spokesperson for Warner Bros. confirmed to Fox News in August that executive producers Ed Glavin and Kevin Leman and co-executive producer Jonathan Norman "have parted ways with" the show after WarnerMedia launched an internal investigation into the allegations.

The show's resident DJ Stephen "Twitch" Boss was subsequently promoted to co-executive producer.

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JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE! - Ellen DeGeneres joins as guest

JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE! - Ellen DeGeneres joins as guest (Randy Holmes/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images)

Former and current employees at the show alleged top brass fostered a toxic work environment based on bullying and fear. Sexual misconduct allegations followed news of the investigation.

Both Leman and Norman have denied the allegations, while Glavin has not responded to Fox News' previous request for comment.

In a previous statement to Fox News, Leman's attorney, Michael Plonsker, said: "The fact that a deeply flawed BuzzFeed article has led to the termination of an innocent man – a popular figure and a creative force behind the 'Ellen' show and a string of other projects produced with Ellen – is shocking. Kevin is devastated by being scapegoated and is not yet ready to comment.”

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Stars such as Steve Harvey, Lea Thompson, Brad Garrett, Rosie O’Donnell and more have weighed in on DeGeneres’ scandal.

Fox News’ Jessica Napoli contributed to this report.