In her latest desperate bid to save The Ellen Show, the titular comedian is giving employees new job perks.
As part of the promised changes, producers are telling the staff: "don't be afraid."
Variety did an extensive report on the steps that The Ellen Show is taking to save it from universal condemnation.
For one thing, staffers are receiving five paid days off to use at their discretion.
They will also have birthdays off, along with paid time for doctors appointments and for other family matters.
Discretionary time off is great! And it's probably worth noting that, sadly, these perks aren't the joke that they sound like.
Many on social media are remarking that they are shocked and horrified that most of this was not already the case.
Unfortunately, television production is often a grueling industry, where sick staffers are only sent home if there is fear that they will bring production to a halt.
These changes come in the wake of a dramatic address from Ellen that took place early this week.
Senior producers Mary Connelly and Andy Lassner informed staffers of these perks at a virtual town hall.
There, Ellen tearfully apologized to employees.
For months, there have been damaging reports describing a deeply toxic atmosphere on the set of the show.
During the town hall, Ellen acknowledged that all of this occurred "on her watch," a line intended to take responsibility.
On top of that, the show has fired producers Ed Glavin, Jonathan Norman, and Kevan Leman ... who were accused of sexual misconduct.
During the town hall, Ellen addressed what she described as poor communication with her crew.
She claimed to have only learned about these issues by reading reports about them, which allegedly left her "heartbroken."
Notably, a number of firsthand accounts of toxic, unacceptable workplace behavior described Ellen as, at the very least, a witness.
Insiders say that the new perks, alongside the direct address from Ellen, have resulted in a boost in morale.
Rehearsals for Ellen's spinoff show, Ellen's Game of Games, have resumed.
The talk show team has begun "waking up" production offices and sound stages, getting things in order.
A human resources executive has been provided by WarnerMedia.
This HR exec has been attending multiple Zoom meetings.
Notably, thsi exec does not report to show leadership, which means that workers are allegedly free to air grievances with an advocate.
Producers Connelly and Lassner have reportedly directly instructed staff "don't be afraid."
The goal is not only to address ongoing workplace issues, but also to discuss things like the circumstances of working safely during this pandemic.
There is also to be discussion of rumors -- like the infamous one where crew were advised to never make eye contact with Ellen, as if she were a gorilla.
Of the fired producers, only one has publicly responded.
Leman claimed that his termination was the result of being "scapegoated."
Notably, the trio of ousted producers were only fired weeks after WarnerMedia launched a formal investigation into the workplace.
Horror stories about Ellen, even outside of her professional environment, have circulated for years.
Those of us with friends in the service industry have heard firsthand and secondhand accounts of celebrities like Ellen.
Ellen has, at times, been perceived to actively try to get hotel employees and waitresses suspended or fired for perceived shortcomings ... including chipped nail polish.
Despite that, these few industry grumblings about Ellen did not really have a wide reach or taint public perceptions of Ellen.
They didn't until early this year, when her crew was informed in April that they shoudl expect salary reductions ...even as the show produced the same number of episodes in quarantine.
The show was making use of non-union workers. Crew members who had kept a lid on their horror stories because it was "such a good gig" very understandably blew a gasket.
However, some crew members are currently feeling more optimistic about the show.
Maybe it's a little bit of Stockholm Syndrome. Maybe it's these new perks.
But some of them say that Ellen speaking directly on the subject has instilled in them a new confidence that maybe the production atmosphere will not be toxic.