Ellen DeGeneres Show Crew Members Are Reportedly "Outraged" by Treatment During Coronavirus Pandemic
The show's top producers have reportedly been keeping crew members in the dark regarding changes in pay, hours, and the status of their healthcare.
On Thursday, Variety reported that The Ellen DeGeneres Show’s crew, which consists of more than 30 employees, are “outraged over their treatment from top producers amid the coronavirus pandemic.” The show’s core stage crew was reportedly kept in the dark regarding their pay, hours, and “inquiries about their mental and physical health” for over a month. Adding to the anger of crew members, the show recently hired a non-union tech company to work with DeGeneres to tape the show remotely.
When producers did respond to the crew, they told the bulk of members to expect a 60% pay reduction.
A Warner Brothers spokesperson told Variety, “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,” explaining that the crew has been paid “consistently,” though their hours of pay have been reduced.
The show was last shot in the studio the week of March 9. Variety reported that the crew was paid in full the following week of March 16. They took their previously planned spring break the week of March 23. When they returned from the break, their pay was reportedly reduced from 10 hours per day to 8 hours. Last Friday, the crew was told that going forward they would be paid for two 8-hour work days per week.
When DeGeneres’s show began airing remotely, the host said she wanted to return “as soon as possible” because of her “staff and crew,” telling the audience, “I love them, I miss them, the best thing I can do to support them is to keep the show on the air.”
DeGeneres has a reported net worth of $490 million and an annual salary of around $75 million, she conducts her daily talk show from her L.A. mansion. Last week, DeGeneres was at the center of another negative news moment when she told an insensitive joke about self-isolation, comparing the experience to “being in jail,” explaining, “mostly because I've been wearing the same clothes for ten days and everyone in here is gay.”