While Ellen DeGeneres complains that social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown from her $27 million mansion is just like prison, the crew of her wildly popular talk-show has real issues to worry about.
In a report from Variety, the core stage crew for Ellen say that they have ‘received no written communication about the status of their working hours, pay, or inquiries about their mental and physical health from producers for over a month.’ Despite the show still being on the air — albeit shot from Ellen’s massive house — the higher-ups in production have allegedly all but cut out the people who actually keep the series running during this time.
Sources say that tensions were exacerbated by the news that the show decided to hire an outside, non-union company to help record the show remotely from DeGeneres’s home. Given Ellen’s own history with crossing the picket line during the last major writers’ strike, this doesn’t sound all that surprising, sadly. It also seems that the crew was left in the dark about this development, with sources claiming that Ellen’s colleagues and staff didn’t even know that she had a remote set built in her home until they saw it on social media.
The show is still on the air, still pulling in big viewer numbers, and still has millions of fans, but the crew was reportedly told ‘to brace for a 60% reduction in pay.’ That’s so kind, right, Ellen? Can you slap that on a t-shirt and sell it in your subscription boxes?
A spokesperson for Warner Bros. Television, which distributes the show, told Variety that the crew was still being paid right now, albeit at reduced hours, and that ‘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.’ DeGeneres claimed in her return to the air on April 7 that the reason she was doing the show remotely was because ‘the best thing I can do to support them [her staff and crew] is to keep the show on the air.’ Uh-huh, sure. Sounds real charitable.
The people in the entertainment industry struggling the most right now are those below-the-line workers: The lighting workers, the PAs, the people on-set every day come rain or shine or sh*tty bosses. Ellen may whine about how hard it is for her right now but her financial security isn’t being impacted right now. Her crew and staff very much are. The very least she can do is keep that in mind. Then again, given her history and the myriad rumors surrounding her alleged treatment of her staff, it sounds like she’s never truly considered the concept of kindness.
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