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Former ‘Ellen’ Producer Says DeGeneres Was Aware Of Abuses

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Following weeks of reporting and a third-party investigation into the toxic work culture at “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” one former producer has chosen to speak publicly about her experience with what she described as a “culture of fear” in the show’s earliest days.

Hedda Muskat was an early hire on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” back in 2003 when the show was still in development. A veteran of “The Howie Mandel Show” and “The Martin Short Show,” she was among a handful of writers and producers recruited by executive producer Andy Lassner to flesh out what “Ellen” would later become.

But within a year and a half of joining, Muskat said she was sidelined in favor of a younger, less experienced producer before being pushed out entirely.

Also Read: 3 ‘Ellen DeGeneres Show’ Executive Producers Accused of Sexual Misconduct by Former Employees

Muskat was among the dozens of current and former employees who anonymously discussed their experiences in a pair of bombshell reports from BuzzFeed News about the hostile workplace behind the scenes of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” The staffers described instances of racial discrimination and sexual misconduct, as well as a generally inhospitable work environment, which Muskat says started with DeGeneres herself and took shape as far back as 2003.

“I had never seen this before,” Muskat told TheWrap this weekend. “I had never been around a toxic host.”

Representatives for “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and Warner Bros. Television declined to comment for this story, instead pointing to a statement from last week in which the studio acknowledged “deficiencies related to the show’s day-to-day management” with a promise to implement “appropriate measures to address the issues that have been raised.”

One incident — a staff meeting with DeGeneres to introduce then-new executive producers Ed Glavin and Mary Connelly — stands out in particular. Glavin, who was at the time still new to the show, openly screamed at a crew member in front of the entire room. “He just went off on them,” Muskat said. “His whole face turned red. … We were stunned.”

“I was waiting for Ellen to say something. ‘Whoa, Ed, don’t talk like that,’” she said.

The four dozen ex-employees who spoke to BuzzFeed were unanimous in their description of Glavin’s fear- and intimidation-based management style, but some doubted DeGeneres herself was aware of the way the show was run. Recalling the host’s response to Glavin’s shouting, Muskat disagreed.

“Do you know what she did? She giggled,” Muskat said. “She crossed her legs up on the chair and she said, ‘Well, I guess every production needs their dog’ … And from then we knew. Ed was going to be the barking dog — her dog.”

“You could just see everybody’s faces go stiff,” she said. “We’re professionals; … (Read more)

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