Ellen's season premiere had the same ratings as last year despite turbulent summer of 'toxic workplace' claims

CLAIMS of a 'toxic workplace' don't seem to have affected Ellen DeGeneres rating as the talk show giant returns to air.

Ellen, 62, issued an apology at the start of her The Ellen DeGeneres show's latest season.

During its absence from screen amid the coronavirus pandemic, numerous former employees have accused the show of tolerating everything from bullying and racism to sexual harassment.

Despite the mounting controversy and criticism of her on-air apology, Ellen did not lose any viewers from last year.

Her talkshow season premiere scored a 1.9 household rating which is the same as last year.

But she experienced a very small uptick in the number of people aged 25 – 52 watching the season premiere, making it the strongest opening episode in that age range since 2016.

Achieving those kind of ratings was described as "no mean feat" by Variety which claimed "changing viewing habits and COVID-19 have caused broadcast viewership to fall across the board".

In her first monologue of the new season since the show came under investigation, Ellen addressed the string of allegations levelled at her by former and current employees.

"If you're watching because you love me, thank you," the comedian said.

She continued: "If you're watching because you don't love me, welcome. As you may have heard, this summer there were allegations of a toxic work environment at our show and then there was an investigation."

She also claimed that they had made the "necessary changes" and that they are now "starting a new chapter".

Ellen further addressed that the backlash gave way to claims that she is not "who I appear to be because I became known as the be-kind lady".

She explained: "Being known as the be-kind lady is a tricky position to be in […] The truth is I am that person that you see on TV, I am also a lot of other things.

"Sometimes I get sad. I get mad. I get anxious. I get frustrated. I get impatient. And I am working on all of that.

"I am a work in progress and I am especially working on that impatience thing."

She continued to tell her audience that her "intention is to always be the best person I can be. And if I've ever let someone down or I've ever hurt their feelings, I am so sorry for that.

"If that's ever the case, I've let myself down and I've hurt myself as well, because I always try to grow as a person."

Following Ellen's public apology to her employees and those she has hurt in the past, Buzzfeed News interviewed some of them to see what they thought of her monologue during the first episode of the new season.

According to the outlet: "Current and former employees say they found her monologue to be disingenuous and tone-deaf given the severity of their experiences.

"Employees told BuzzFeed News they didn’t appreciate Ellen making light of their allegations of toxicity, racism, sexual harassment, and misconduct by sarcastically asking viewers, 'How was everybody’s summer? Good, yeah? Mine was great. Super terrific,' and then telling them, 'Let me give you some advice out there if anybody's thinking of changing their title or giving yourself a nickname, do not go with the 'be kind' lady. Don’t do it.'"

A former employee claimed: "Not only did Ellen turn my trauma, turn our traumas, into a joke, she somehow managed to make this about her.

A second former employee then claimed: "When she said, 'Oh, my summer was great' and that was supposed to be funny I thought, 'It’s funny that you had a rough summer because everyone was calling out all of the allegations of your toxic work environment and now you’re the one suffering?'"

Despite Ellen's claims that the show was going through some changes in order to avoid past claims from happening again, a current employee told the outlet that "they’ve been frustrated with minimal communication from their superiors about the direction and vision for the new season, and that all of their duties were 'put on hold' until Ellen delivered her monologue."

"It’s always tactical," the employee claimed.

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