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Ellen DeGeneres under fire as crew members reportedly fume over mistreatment, pay amid shutdown

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Producers for the “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” have reportedly been mistreating people again, with the victims this time around allegedly being their own crew members.

“The core stage crew for ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show,’ consisting of more than 30 employees, received no written communication about the status of their working hours, pay, or inquiries about their mental and physical health from producers for over a month,” Variety magazine reported in an inside scoop Thursday.

Citing two anonymous sources, the magazine claimed crew members are “distressed and outraged” over their treatment from the show’s top producers.

It’s not clear if their outrage also encompasses the show’s host, comedian Ellen DeGeneres, who in recent times has been described as “one of the meanest people alive.”

“Higher-ups in production would occasionally answer phone calls but reveal little, added one of the sources. The crew was further incensed by the show’s recent hire of an outside, non-union tech company to help DeGeneres tape remotely from her home in California,” Variety’s scoop continued.

When the show’s producers finally reached out to crew members last week, they reportedly did so to inform them that they’d need to accept a 60 percent pay cut — and this despite the show continuing to air from DeGeneres’ lavish mansion:

“Only four core crew members currently work on the remote version of the broadcast, added insiders, who find this treatment to be totally inconsistent with DeGeneres’ daily message to her audiences: ‘be kind,'” Variety noted.

A spokesperson for Warner Bros. Television has denied the allegations.

“Our executive producers and Telepictures are committed to taking care of our staff and crew and have made decisions first and foremost with them in mind,” the spokesperson said, adding that crew members have been paid consistently.

Crew members reportedly disagree.

“For more than two weeks, from late March through April 9, crew members — from lighting to camera operators to grips — were left in the dark about if and how much they would be paid,” Variety reported.

“Phone calls to crew members from a production coordinator at Telepictures, the Warner Bros. unit that produces ‘Ellen,’ were sporadic and often lacking any information before and after the 14-day blackout.”

The silence continued even as the show’s host began broadcasting from her home, leading some crew members to worry a furlough was incoming.

See footage from the show’s latest episode below:

Meanwhile, as the show’s regular crew has been hit with a pay cut as of April 10, the Burbank-based audiovisual firm Key Code Media has been hired “to help produce technical elements of the show while crew members with the same skills sit idle,” according to Variety, though Warner Brothers had an excuse for this as well.

“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 conglomerate’s spokesperson said to Variety.

There’s a certain irony to all this given DeGeneres’ own words.

When she returned to air from her home earlier this month, she reportedly told viewers she was doing it for “my staff and crew. I love them, I miss them, the best thing I can do to support them is to keep the show on the air.”

Except her actual crew haven’t been involved in the show’s production. And now that the show’s fans are aware of the crew’s experiences, they aren’t too happy.

Case in point (*Language warning):

The latter Twitter user appeared to be correct.

“‘Jimmy Kimmel Live!’ stagehands were paid from host Kimmel’s own pocket during initial COVID-19 shutdowns … and since returning to the air network ABC is paying their full rates,” Variety reported.

“‘Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,’ ‘Full Frontal with Samantha Bee,’ and Showtime’s ‘Desus & Mero’ have also all had transparent communication and are paying full rates, sources said. Spokespersons for those individual shows declined to comment on the matter.”

Vivek Saxena

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