Crew members on 'The Ellen Show' are reportedly furious at the lack of communication over pay during the coronavirus shutdown
The Ellen Degeneres Show" crew members are angry over their treatment by producers and production executives during the coronavirus pandemic, according to an exclusive Variety report.
- Variety reports that crew members didn't receive any communication about the status of their working hours or pay for over a month during the coronavirus shutdown.
- The site also reported that only four of the core 30 crew members, a number of whom have been working on the show since its inception 17 years ago, are currently working on the home-recorded versions of the show.
- Crew members were reportedly told to expect a 60% reduction in pay despite the show continuing to air.
- In the time since Variety asked Warner Bros for comment, rumors among the crew have suggested full compensation could be restored, though nothing has been finalized.
- Insider has contacted Warner Bros. and representatives for
Ellen DeGeneresfor comment.
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Variety reported that according to two anonymous sources, the long-running chat show's core stage crew, which is comprised of more than 30 employees, have not received any communication about the status of their working hours or pay, nor have the producers asked the employees about their mental and physical health.
Furthermore, the report says crew members were left in the dark about how much they would be paid, or if they would be paid at all, for more than two weeks.
"Ellen" has continued to run in lockdown, with the host recording from her home in California, but Variety reports that only four of the core crew are currently working on the lockdown edition of the show despite a non-union tech company being brought on to help.
A Warner Bros. spokesperson told Variety that no crew members had lost their jobs as a result of hiring Key Code Media, adding: "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."
Variety reports that crew members were finally told about the state of their pay last week by production executives, who told them to expect a 60% reduction in pay despite the show continuing to air. In the time since Variety asked Warner Bros to comment, it's been rumored among the crew that full compensation for their normal four-day work week will be restored, though nothing has been finalized.
A representative at Warner Bros. Television told Variety that the crew has been paid at a consistent rate, albeit at reduced hours. The representative said: "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."
Crew members are reportedly upset, however, about the lack of personal care from the show, and feel that the way they have been treated is not in keeping with host Ellen DeGeneres' "be kind" advice.
Many of the crew members have been working on the show since it aired 17 years ago, and on the show's April 7th return to air, DeGeneres told viewers that she was starting her show again specifically for her 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."
Insider has contacted Warner Bros. and representatives for Ellen DeGeneres for comment.
Meanwhile, crew members on America's other goliath chat shows have been paid in full, either out of the host's own pockets or by the networks.
According to Variety, stage hands on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" were paid by Kimmel himself during initial COVID-19 shutdowns, and are now being paid their full rates by ABC after returning to the air remotely.
Several other shows, including "Last Week Tonight With John Oliver" and "Full Frontal With Samantha Bee," have been transparent in their communication with staff and crew, and are paying full rates.
DeGeneres is one of the highest-paid TV stars in the world, earning $50 million a year from her Telepictures deal, and has a reported net worth of $330 million.
The news about the crew's apparent mistreatment comes as comedian Kevin T. Porter's plea for stories about DeGeneres being "one of the meanest people alive" in return for donations has garnered thousands of responses.
YouTuber Nikkie de Jager also recently gave more details about her alleged mistreatment on "Ellen," according to PopCrave, saying she wasn't even given her own bathroom as it was reserved for the Jonas Brothers. She previously called out DeGeneres for not greeting her before her appearance on the show.
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