Things aren’t looking too good behind-the-scenes of The Ellen Degeneres Show. Dozens of former employees allege top executives have engaged in sexual misconduct with lower-level employees.
BuzzFeed News reportedly spoke to 36 former staff members and they recounted instances of sexual misconduct, harassment, and assault.
Each victim chose to keep their identities under wraps in fear of backlash.
One of the ex-workers alleges head writer and executive producer Kevin Leman asked him a handjob and oral sex in the bathroom at a 2013 company party.
Another former worker claims he witnessed Leman grope a production assistant. An additional ex-employee says she saw Leman grope a PA inside a car and kiss his neck in 2017. Another former employee said: “He’d probably do it in front of 10 people and they’d laugh because ‘it’s just Kevin being Kevin,’ but if you’re in a position of power at a company, you don’t just get to touch me like that.”
Leman forcibly denied the shocking allegations and denied “any kind of sexual impropriety.”
“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 told BuzzFeed in a statement.
“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,” Leman continued.
“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.”