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Former Ellen Show Employees Describe “Toxic” Work Culture

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  • Several current and former employees of the Ellen Degeneres Show claim they experienced racism, fear tactics, and a toxic culture while working for the show.
  • One Black staffer claimed that on top of dealing with microaggressions, she was reprimanded for bringing up representation issues. Other staffers said they were fired for requesting time off after dealing with mental or physical health issues, or a death in the family.
  • While some say that Degeneres allows this to happen, many others said that producers and managers are largely responsible for cultivating this culture.
  • Three executive producers for the show, Ed Glavin, Mary Connelly, and Andy Lassner, said they were “heartbroken” by this news and vowed to do better going forward.

Allegations of Racism and Intimidation

On her show, Ellen Degeneres is known for massive giveaways, pulling pranks on America’s favorite stars, and preaching kindness to her viewers. However, behind the scenes, her employees paint a less positive picture of Degeneres and her team.

According to a report from BuzzFeed News published Thursday, some of the show’s current and former employees say they experienced racism, intimidation, fear tactics, and a toxic culture. The staffers said that much of this culture is created by the daytime talk show’s managers and producers.

A former Black employee told the outlet that she experienced microaggressions and other racist comments during her year and a half working for the show. She claims one writer told her she only knew the names of white co-workers. She also said that a senior-level producer told her and another Black employee, “Oh wow, you both have box braids; I hope we don’t get you confused.”

When she brought up issues of representation and discouraged people from using terms like “spirit animal,” her co-workers started to isolate from her. One person allegedly called her the “PC Police.”

In another instance, she said she found out a recently hired employee was making twice as much to do the same job as her. She asked about a raise, but after months of waiting, nothing happened. She alleges that when she brought up complaints about this, as well as discrimination and representation, she was called to a meeting with executive producer Ed Glavin, who reprimanded her. She left that meeting and never returned to the show. 

Other former employees claimed they were fired for taking necessary time off. One checked into a mental hospital for a month after a suicide attempt. When they returned to work, they learned they lost their job.

“Some of the producers talk openly in public about addiction and mental health awareness, but they’re the reason there’s a stigma,” they said to BuzzFeed. “They definitely don’t practice what they preach with the ‘be kind’ mantra.”

Another former employee said they were fired after being in a car accident and experiencing two deaths in the family within a year. The accident required them to take three weeks of medical leave, one funeral required two days working remotely, and the second required three days off to travel to the funeral. Requesting time off for these reasons was allegedly difficult. 

Executive Producers Respond

Executive producers Ed Glavin, Mary Connelly, and Andy Lassner issued a statement saying they were heartbroken from hearing these stories.

“Over the course of nearly two decades, 3,000 episodes, and employing over 1000 staff members, we have strived to create an open, safe, and inclusive work environment,” they said in a statement to BuzzFeed. “We are truly heartbroken and sorry to learn that even one person in our production family has had a negative experience. It’s not who we are and not who we strive to be, and not the mission Ellen has set for us.”

“For the record, the day to day responsibility of the Ellen show is completely on us,” they added. “We take all of this very seriously and we realize, as many in the world are learning, that we need to do better, are committed to do better, and we will do better.”

While some blamed producers, others thought Degeneres herself should be doing more to make sure her office is as positive as she is on camera. 

“If she wants to have her own show and have her name on the show title, she needs to be more involved to see what’s going on,” one former employee said to BuzzFeed. “I think the executive producers surround her and tell her, ‘Things are going great, everybody’s happy,’ and she just believes that, but it’s her responsibility to go beyond that.”

History of Complaints at the Ellen Show

Rumors about Degeneres being rude or creating a hostile work environment have swirled around Hollywood for a long time. Just this year, word of this behavior has started to bubble over. An April report from Variety alleged that show staffers were left in the dark when it came to their working hours and pay during the coronavirus pandemic. Frustrations were exacerbated when the show hired an outside crew to help Degeneres film remotely.

Eventually, most crew members were told to expect a 60% cut in their pay despite the fact that the show was still airing. At the same time, other talk show hosts like Trevor Noah, Jimmy Kimmel, and James Cordon announced that they would be paying some of their staff out of their own pockets. 

In May, a bodyguard assigned to protect her at the 2014 Oscars told Fox News that Degeneres was “cold” and “demeaning.” The Internet has also been collecting their own stories about Degeneres. A viral Twitter thread asking for peoples’ “most insane” stories about her has 2,600 replies and almost 5,000 retweets with comments. 

According to BuzzFeed, when it comes to those working on the show, there is a strong division between those who want to call out the toxic environment, and those who “drink the Kool-Aid.”

Those who work long days without a complaint and ignore how higher-up employees treat everyone else tend to be more liked by producers. They are also allegedly incentivized and get leftover show swag like iPhones and JetBlue gift cards. Those who speak out don’t get their contracts renewed.

“People focus on rumors about how Ellen is mean and everything like that, but that’s not the problem. The issue is these three executive producers running the show who are in charge of all these people [and] who make the culture and are putting out this feeling of bullying and being mean,” a former employee told the outlet. “They feel that everybody who works at The Ellen Show is lucky to work there — ‘So if you have a problem, you should leave because we’ll hire someone else because everybody wants to work here.’”

See what others are saying: (A.V. Club) (USA Today) (Entertainment Tonight)

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“Borat” Sequel Reportedly Catches Rudy Giuliani in Compromising Situation, But Giuliani Says It’s “Doctored”

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  • President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, was caught in a compromising situation after stills from a mock-interview in Sacha Baron Cohen‘s upcoming “Borat” sequel showed Giuliani laying down with his hands in his pants in front of a fake reporter.
  • That fake reporter, Maria Bakalova, was in character as Borat’s 15-year-old daughter. In real life, Bakalova is 24.
  • It has been reported that Giuliani did not know this context until just before he left the scene. Giuliani has also denied that he engaged in any appropriate sexual activity, saying he was tucking his shirt after having his mic removed. 

Alleged Details About the Rudy Giuliani Interview in “Borat”

Drinking, agreeing to eat a bat, and sticking his hand in his pants — that’s all part of a strange fake interview between Rudy Giuliani and Borat” actress Maria Bakalova.

The interview was filmed against Giuliani’s knowledge for “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,” which will be released on Amazon Prime Friday. In it, Giuliani can be seen entering a hotel suite with Bakalova, who is in character as Borat’s 15-year-old daughter.

The film, starring Sacha Baron Cohen as Borat, includes other notable pranks, such as one that involves crashing the Conservative Political Action Conference to catch Vice President Mike Pence off guard; however, that might not come as much of a surprise to many considering how Cohen is known to have pulled similar antics in the past.

During the interview with Giuliani, Bakalova — who is 24-years-old in real-life — poses as a reporter for a conservative news show. 

Near the beginning of the interview, hidden cameras reportedly capture Giuliani taking off a mask he was wearing. Throughout the interview, reports also indicate that he coughs and repeatedly touches Bakalova.

At one point, Bakalova, in character, says she’s nervous. Giuliani grabs her hands and reportedly tells her, “You’re going to do great.”

Bakalova’s character then brings up the coronavirus pandemic, asking what needs to be done so a similar pandemic doesn’t happen in the future. Giuliani reportedly responds by shifting blame to China, alleging (without evidence) that the country  “manufactured” the virus and deliberately spread it around the world.

“I don’t think anyone was eating bats,” he reportedly said. 

Bakalova’s character then responded, “If you eat a bat with me, I would.”

“OK, I’ll eat a bat with you,” Giuliani said. 

Because the footage of the interview has yet to be released publicly, it is unclear whether Giuliani is possibly joking. 

From there, the interview continues.  According to INSIDER, in one shot, the two sip what appears to be scotch.

After a subsequent interruption from a disguised Borat, Bakalova asks if they can move the interview into the bedroom. Giuliani agrees, reportedly telling her at one point, “You can give me your phone number and your address,” before appearing to tap her on the small of her back a few times.

Giuliani proceeds to sit on a bed, and Bakalova’s character appears to remove his mic.

The film then cuts to Giuliani laying on the bed, where he can be seen putting his hand in his pants. 

At that point, Cohen — still playing Borat — jumps into the room in pink lingerie and tells Giuliani that “Bakalova” is 15-years-old before pleading for Giuliani to take him instead of her. 

Giuliani then reportedly tells him, “I don’t want you,” and leaves the suite. 

Giuliani Denies Allegations of Inappropriate Behavior 

With the release of the stills, Giuliani’s moment on the bed has drawn widespread condemnation and scrutiny. Many online have asked why Giuliani seemed to be putting his hands down his pants when he was in the same room as a person he could have believed was 15. 

However, according to NBC News, in the context of the film, Giuliani had no reason to believe that Bakalova was 15 — at least not until Cohen jumped in and shouted it at the end. 

By Wednesday afternoon, Giuliani attempted to dispel the rumors that he possibly engaged in some sort of inappropriate sexual situation with a minor.

“The Borat video is a complete fabrication,” he said in a Twitter thread. “I was tucking in my shirt after taking off the recording equipment. At no time before, during, or after the interview was I ever inappropriate. If Sacha Baron Cohen implies otherwise, he is a stone-cold liar.”

Giuliani then referred back to a Hollywood Reporter article from July 8 that confirmed he’d called the police after being pranked on camera by Cohen. 

In fact, it does seem to be the case that this interview was recorded in July because around the same time, Giuliani told PageSix, “This guy comes running in, wearing a crazy, what I would say was a pink transgender outfit. 

“It was a pink bikini, with lace, underneath a translucent mesh top, it looked absurd. He had the beard, bare legs, and wasn’t what I would call distractingly attractive.”

In his Twitter thread, Giuliani went on to call the release of the images a deflection against the recent leak involving Hunter Biden’s supposed emails.  

“This is an effort to blunt my relentless exposure of the criminality and depravity of Joe Biden and his entire family,” Giuliani said. “We are preparing much bigger dumps off of the hard drive from hell, of which Joe Biden will be unable to defend or hide from. I have the receipts.”

Along with Giuliani, a number of other conservatives have jumped to his defense, with many also accusing Amazon, Twitter, and the news media of deflecting against the Hunter Biden story.

Celebs Question Giuliani’s Motives During Interview

Nonetheless, many — including a number of celebrities — have continued to question Giuliani’s motives with Bakalova during the fake interview. 

“So you normally drink with reporters, follow them to the bedroom and then lie on the bed and let her take off your mic for you?” singer Demi Lovato said. “I guess I’ve been doin my interviews all wrong…”

On “The Late Show,” host Stephen Colbert said, “I watched the footage. Why did you go into a bedroom at the suggestion of a young woman to have cocktails to take off a mic? I take off a mic every night. Never once have I reclined on a kingsize bed and then launched a fact-finding mission to my own groin.”

See what others are saying: (INSIDER) (The New York Times) (The Guardian)

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Marvel Stars Slammed for Defending Chris Pratt But Not Women or Actors of Color

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  • Twitter users have dubbed actor Chris Pratt their least favorite Chris in Hollywood, with many doing so because they believe he supports President Donald Trump or is at least a conservative.
  • Some critics said that he attends an anti-LGBTQ church, follows right-wing figures on social media, and did not join his Marvel castmates in a fundraiser for Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, among other controversies.
  • However, Pratt has never explicitly shown support for Trump and has previously said he doesn’t feel represented by either of the major political parties.
  • Marvel figures like Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr, Zoe Saldana, and James Gunn each expressed support for Pratt online. That then prompted backlash from fans who asked why similar support was not shown to women and people of color like Brie Larson, Zendaya, Anthony Mackie, and others who faced sexist or racist harassment online after joining the MCU.

Internet Picks Their Least Favorite Chris in Hollywood

Members of the Marvel Cinematic Universe are facing backlash for how quickly they jumped to defend actor Chris Pratt after internet users dubbed him Hollywood’s worst Chris.

Pratt’s name has trended on Twitter several times since Saturday when one user asked people to pick a famous Chris to get rid of and many selected him.

While some admittedly just don’t like his acting, many actually chose him because they believe he’s a supporter of President Donald Trump.

Is He Actually a Trump Supporter?

However, his political views are not exactly clear, though many believe that he is at the very least a conservative. 

Several people pointed out that he was notably not on the list of Avengers stars who hosted a virtual fundraiser to support Joe Biden. That event featured the likes of Don Cheadle, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Paul Rudd, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr, and Zoe Saldana.

Other people said Pratt supports an anti-LGBTQ church.

That claim actually picked up last year when actress Ellen Page famously accused Hillsong Church in Los Angeles of being anti-LGBTQ. 

The backlash later prompted Pratt to call the claim “absolutely untrue” and say that his church “opens their doors to absolutely everyone.” 

“My faith is important to me but no church defines me or my life, and I am not a spokesman for any church or group of people,” he added.

Some also looked at who he follows on social media, suggesting it proves he has right-wing views.

Then there was that whole controversy surrounding a shirt he wore last year featuring the Gadsen flag, which has a coiled snake and the text “Don’t Tread On Me.”

That flag was created by American general Christopher Gadsden during the Revolutionary war but it has developed more political connotations in recent years. 

According to Dictionary.com: “In the 2000s, the phrase became associated with a variety of libertarian, conservative, gun-rights, or far-right political groups as way to express their beliefs.”

Others pointed to a recent controversy he had when instead of urging people to vote in the upcoming election, he posted a joke about voting for “Onward” to win at the People’s Choice Awards. Many interpreted this as him mocking celebrities who are using their platforms to promoting voting. Others said he was downplaying the seriousness of the election.

However, on the other side of this, CNN reported that he donated money to Democrat and former President Barack Obama’s campaign back in 2012.

On top of that, others looked to his wife Katherine Schwarzenegger-Pratt, daughter of the former Republican Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger.

She has notably shown support for Biden, but it’s unclear if her husband shares the same views. 

Still, he is also on record saying he doesn’t support either political party.

In 2017, he told Men’s Fitness, “I don’t feel represented by either side.”

“I really feel there’s common ground out there that’s missed because we focus on the things that separate us.”

Basically, there’s really not enough evidence to say that Pratt is a Trump supporter, but he hasn’t come out to confirm or deny it either way.

Avengers Assemble to Defend Pratt

Even so, the internet eventually turned their dislike for Pratt into somewhat of a meme.

Many are making jokes at his expense and generally referring to him as the worst Chris.

All of this backlash eventually prompted a number of his Marvel costars to come out and defend him. 

Mark Ruffalo, for instance, said Prat is “as solid a man there is.”

“I know him personally, and instead of casting aspersions, look at how he lives his life. He is just not overtly political as a rule. This is a distraction. Let’s keep our eyes on the prize, friends. We are so close now.”

Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn said Pratt, “is the best dude in the world. I’ve spent hours & hours sharing my deepest truths with this man, as he has with me. Please stop assuming what he believes, politically or in any other way, because he’s a Christian.”

Zoe Saldana followed up with a Tupac quote, “No matter how hard it gets, stick your chest out, keep your head up and handle it.

You got this @prattprattpratt,” she added. “Your family, friends, colleagues & everyone who’s ever crossed paths with you knows your heart and your worth!”

Even Robert Downey Jr. shared a photo with Pratt on Instagram.

“What a world,” he wrote in the post caption. “The “sinless” are casting stones at my #brother, Chris Pratt… A real #Christian who lives by #principle, has never demonstrated anything but #positivity and #gratitude… AND he just married iznto a family that makes space for civil discourse and (just plain fact) INSISTS on service as the highest value.”

If you take issue with Chris, I’ve got a novel idea. Delete your social media accounts, sit with your OWN defects of #character, work on THEM, then celebrate your humanness… @prattprattpratt I #gotyerbackbackback”

Internet Users Accuse MCU Stars of Hypocrisy

Of course, many on the internet took issue with that swift display of support, especially since some women and actors of color in the MCU were met with silence from many of their costars when they faced bullying or harassment online.

For instance, some noted that Brie Larson faced a ton of harassment last year when she advocated for diversity in Hollywood. 

She was regularly hit with a ton of sexist remarks at the time and “Captain Marvel” was flooded with negative reviews on Rotten Tomatoes before the film was even released. 

Others said stars like Anthony Mackie, Tessa Thompson, Zendaya, and more actors of color have endured bullying, racist remarks, and even death threats without the same quick support Pratt received. 

Pratt has not comments on any of the backlash as of Wednesday afternoon.

See what others are saying: (Los Angeles Times) (Fox News) (CNN)

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Fans Defend Billie Eilish From Body Shamers After Paparazzi Photo Goes Viral

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  • Billie Eilish was recently photographed wearing a tight tank top and jogger shorts, a departure from the usual baggy clothes she wears in an active effort to prevent people from commenting on her body.
  • However, tabloids quickly spread this photo around and people ended up body shaming her on Twitter. 
  • Fans came to her defense, saying people should not critique anyone’s body or hold them to unrealistic standards. Some also pointed out that the world in general needs to normalize the fact that most people do not look like models.
  • Billie posted a TikTok on her Instagram expressing a similar point of view. The TikTok was made by Chizi Duru, who said: “Y’all gotta start normalizing real bodies…Guts are normal…Instagram isn’t real.” 

Billie Eilish Gets Body Shamed

Billie Eilish fans are calling out body shamers who made comments about the singer after she was photographed wearing non-baggy clothing.

Eilish was essentially wearing the unofficial outfit of quarantine, a fitted tan tank top and comfy jogger shorts, while out and about in Los Angeles on Sunday.

While most people get away with wearing something like that every day, the young Grammy winner was met with a tabloid frenzy. Eilish has become known for wearing baggy clothes and has even said she wears looser outfits intentionally to prevent people from making unprovoked comments about her body.

Photos of her in the relaxed attire went viral and made headlines, with gossip magazines quick to gawk at the pictures. Body shamers soon followed with their remarks. One Twitter user said she had a “mid-30s wine mom body.”

Fans Slam Body Shamers

Elish’s fans quickly ran to her defense, slamming those who body shamed the 18-year-old. 

“There is nothing greater in this world than billie eilish being confident in her body,” one Twitter user wrote. 

“To anyone who is body shaming Billie Eilish please stop putting unrealistic beauty standards on women,” another fan said. “She doesn’t deserve that and no one else deserves that either.”

Many also pointed out the fact that offensive and uncalled for comments like that are what stop the young singer from usually wearing fitted clothing. 

Others called out tabloids for making a big story out of her wearing a normal casual outfit to begin with. 

Billie Eilish Responds Responds

Eilish eventually issued an indirect response on her Instagram Story Tuesday night by sharing a TikTok from influencer Chizi Duru.  

“Y’all gotta start normalizing real bodies, okay. Not everyone has a wagon behind them, okay,” Duru says in the video. “Guts are normal. They’re normal. Boobs sag, especially after breastfeeding. Instagram isn’t real.” 

Eilish also posted a video of her walking past her Grammy awards, which many thought was a subtle clapback to body shamers.

This is not the first time she has addressed body shaming and other remarks made around her appearance and wardrobe. During some of her concerts, Eilish has played a short video where she recites a spoken word poem about her experiences with her body image and the media. 

“Some people hate what I wear. Some people praise it,” she says in the video. “Some people use it to shame others. Some people use it to shame me.” 

“The body I was born with is it not what you wanted? If I wear what is comfortable I am not a woman,” she continues. “If I shed the layers I’m a slut. Though you’ve never seen my body, you still judge it and judge me for it. Why?” 

Some also shared this video as a reminder that body-shaming Eilish or anyone else is not okay. Her fans specifically pointed out that Eilish has been dealing with these kinds of issues for a long time and should not be subject to these repeated attacks. 

See what others are saying: (Cosmopolitan) (Uproxx) (Glamour)

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