‘Ellen’ Producers Accused of Sexual Misconduct
Producers of The Ellen DeGeneres Show have been accused of sexual misconduct.
On Thursday (July 30), BuzzFeed published a lengthy report that featured misconduct allegations from dozens of former employees.
Over a dozen employees shared claims that producer Kevin Leman made inappropriate jokes, made sexual advances and engaged in physical touching. One employee claimed that Leman asked if he could perform oral sex or give him a hand job during a 2013 company party. Another employee reported that they saw him grab a production assistant's penis.
“It’s masked in sarcasm, but it’s not sarcasm,” one former employee told the outlet of Leman's alleged sexual "jokes."
Leman responded to the accusations in a statement to BuzFeed. "I started at The Ellen Show as a PA more than 17 years ago and have devoted my career to work my way to the position I now hold," he said.
"While my job as head writer is to come up with jokes — and, during that process, we can occasionally push the envelope — I’m horrified that some of my attempts at humor may have caused offense," he added. "I have always aimed to treat everyone on the staff with kindness, inclusivity and respect. In my whole time on the show, to my knowledge, I’ve never had a single HR or inter-personal complaint made about me, and I am devastated beyond belief that this kind of malicious and misleading article could be published."
Five ex-employees also claimed that producer Ed Galvin touched them in an uncomfortable way. The sources reported that Galvin “had a reputation for being handsy with women.” They also claimed that he had a shower in his office that he would regularly use with the shower door open.
Another former employee claimed that co-executive producer Jonathan Norman groomed him and then attempted to engage in oral sex. He alleged that Norman took him to work events and used other work-related perks to gain his trust. Three fellow co-workers corroborated that the employee told them about the incident at the time.
Norman told the outlet that he is "100% categorically denying these allegations."
DeGeneres sent a memo to staff on Thursday (July 30), NPR reported. "On day one of our show, I told everyone in our first meeting that The Ellen DeGeneres Show would be a place of happiness — no one would ever raise their voice, and everyone would be treated with respect," she allegedly wrote.
"Obviously, something changed, and I am disappointed to learn that this has not been the case," she reportedly added. "And for that, I am sorry. Anyone who knows me knows it's the opposite of what I believe and what I hoped for our show."