The Virus Upended Ellen. Her Crew Is Peeved

Production workers say higher-ups haven't been transparent on pay, scheduling
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 17, 2020 7:40 AM CDT
The Virus Upended Ellen . Her Crew Is Peeved
In this Oct. 13, 2016, file photo, Ellen DeGeneres appears during a commercial break at a taping of "The Ellen Show" in Burbank, Calif.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

Ellen DeGeneres' most famous phrase is "be kind," but some of her own crew members say they aren't feeling that kindness from top producers on her talk show. "Numerous insiders" tell Variety that a group of 30 or so lighting coordinators, grips, camera operators, and other Ellen crew members has been largely kept out of the loop by higher-ups on what's going on with pay, scheduling, and their overall health. Sources say this evasiveness has stretched for several weeks, after the crew's last full paycheck the week of March 16. Since then, they've continued to be paid, but at reduced hours—and last week, workers were reportedly told to prepare for a 60% cut.

The crew is also said to be miffed that the show is continuing to tape from Ellen's home using a nonunion tech firm, with only four of the regular core crew members involved. "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," says a rep for Warner Bros. Television, which distributes the show. Warner Bros. concedes that communication and transparency haven't been the best in this situation, but it blames that on the virus and the confusion and disorder it has brought about in general. Read Variety's full story for more. (Ellen brought her show back with a toilet paper joke.)

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