'Ellen' Crew Outraged Over Treatment Amid Coronavirus Crisis

Crew members of the daytime talk show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, are pretty upset about how they've been treated during the coronavirus outbreak. According to Variety, the core stage crew, which consists of about 30 people, are frustrated with the lack of communication and care demonstrated by the show's higher-ups. The crew has "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," according to the outlet. 

To make matters worse, when Ellen DeGeneres decided to produce shows from her home remotely because of quarantine mandates, Ellen higher-ups hired Key Code Media, a non-union tech company, instead of her unionized crew who have the same skill sets, per the outlet.

When crew members did hear from "production executives," they were told "to brace for a 60% reduction in pay, even as the show continues to air," per Variety. What's particularly frustrating for the crew is that this treatment during an unprecedented and stressful time is so contradictory to DeGeneres' message of kindness on her show.

Ellen DeGeneres' crew is in a state of 'anxiety'

"Radio silence from producers" at The Ellen DeGeneres Show has left the crew in a state of anxiety as they wonder how to financially prepare for a lack of work due to quarantine mandates, according to VarietyFrom late March 2020 until April 10, 2020, the outlet reports that the crew received little to no information about compensation. Ellen is produced by Telepictures, a unit of Warner Bros. According to Variety, a spokesperson from Warner Bros. "acknowledged that communication could have been better, but cited complications due to the chaos caused by COVID-19."

A case where the "communication could have been better"? On April 2, 2020, many crew members were apparently shocked to hear that Ellen DeGeneres had set up a remote set to film the show, only discovering that the show was being filmed remotely thanks to "social media posts from colleagues in other departments," insiders told the outlet.

The last studio episodes were shot during the week of March 9th, and the last time the crew was paid in full was the week of March 16th. The week of March 30th there was a planned spring break, and by April 10, 2020, the crew was notified that they'd go down to a reduced schedule, according to Variety. Instead of four, 10-hour work days a week, the crew would only get two, 8-hour shifts.

Hypocrisy on 'The Ellen DeGeneres Show'

Crew members on The Ellen DeGeneres Show are confused after being left in the dark during the coronavirus pandemic. On April 7, 2020, per Variety, Ellen DeGeneres told viewers that she hoped to start doing her show as soon as possible, saying she wanted this for her "staff and crew." 

DeGeneres said, "I love them, I miss them, the best thing I can do to support them is to keep the show on the air," per Variety. Perhaps one of the most hurtful aspects about the lack of communication and care shown to the crew is the fact that many members have been with DeGeneres "since the taping of the talk show's pilot, which rolled 17 years ago."

The whole situation is a bit cringey, especially since DeGeneres posted a video on Instagram on April 16, 2020, saying that she's "sending love" and added the message: "Stay safe and be kind because we all need a little kindness right now."

One person actually called out the host for neglecting her crew in such a hypocritical message, commenting, "Hey Ellen #BE KIND TO ONE ANOTHER. PAY YOUR CREW!! Non union????? REALLY!!! INSULTING !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Ellen DeGeneres could totally afford to pay her crew full wages

The whole situation got even greasier when the crew who works on The Ellen DeGeneres Show reached out to peers from other shows and asked how they were being compensated, according to Variety. The Jimmy Kimmel Live! crews' paychecks came from "Kimmel's own pocket" when the coronavirus shutdowns first went into effect. Other shows — including Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, and Showtime's Desus & Mero – have all reported clear communication and full pay, per Variety.

Warner Bros. pointed out that a daytime show is in a different category from those other shows noting that "[t]he creative, delivery, economics, hours, taping times, staff structures, etc. are completely different for a daily talk show," according to Variety. However, that doesn't hold up as a legitimate excuse for the confusion and pay cuts. According to Celebrity Net Worth, Ellen DeGeneres' net worth is $490 million. The outlet notes that DeGeneres' annual earnings are between $75 and $90 million. 

With such a massive net worth and a reputation of kindness, it's shocking and disappointing to hear that DeGeneres' crew is left in the dark during the coronavirus, scrambling for financial security.