Crew members from “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” say the treatment from top producers amid the coronavirus pandemic is inconsistent with the host’s daily message to her audiences –“be kind,” — Variety reports.
According to Variety, the core stage crew for “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” received no written communication regarding their working hours, pay, or inquiries about their mental and physical health from producers for over a month.
One of two sources who spoke to the magazine on the condition of anonymity said higher-ups in production would occasionally answer phone calls but reveal little information.
According to sources close to the matter, production executives notified nearly all crew members last week to brace for a 60% reduction in pay, even as the show continues to air, Variety reports.
According to Variety, only four of more than 30 crew members currently work on the remote version of the broadcast taped from DeGeneres’ home.
The crew was further outraged to learn that an outside, non-union tech company was recently hired to help with the remote broadcast.
According to Variety, crew members were left in the dark about if and how much they would be paid through April 9. Radio silence from producers created anxiety among crew members who feared they would be furloughed, the magazine reports.
According to Variety, a spokesperson for Warner Bros. Television, which distributes the show, acknowledged that communication with crew members could have been better, but cited complications due to the chaos caused by COVID-19.
A spokesperson for Warner Bros. 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.”
The crew was last paid in full for the week of March 16, when the Warner Bros. lot was shut down as a precaution to prevent the spread of coronavirus, according to the studio. The following week of March 23 was a planned spring break.
“When returning from break, the crew was paid the week of March 30th despite having no firm plans for production to resume,” the spokesperson said. Pay reduced to 8 hours from 10 hours per workday for the week of March 30, insiders told Variety.
“The Ellen DeGeneres Show” returned to air on April 7.
In her opening monologue, Ellen DeGeneres specifically said it was for “my staff and crew. I love them, I miss them, the best thing I can do to support them is to keep the show on the air.”
According to Variety, many crew members were upset by the lack of personal outreach from show leadership to check on longtime employees amid the public health crisis, said sources.
According to the sources, many of the key crew members have been with DeGeneres since the taping of the talk show’s pilot in 2003.
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