Ellen DeGeneres has admitted “things happened here that never should have” as she addressed the reports of a toxic work environment at her talk show.
DeGeneres, one of the most high-profile figures on US TV, has previously apologised to staff after an internal review found “deficiencies related to the show’s day-to-day management”.
Addressing a virtual audience, appearing on video screens in her first monologue of the new series, she said: “If you’re watching because you love me, thank you. If you’re watching because you don’t love me, welcome.”
After joking she had had a “great, super terrific” summer, she added: “I learned that things happened here that never should have happened. I take that very seriously and I want to say I am so sorry to the people that were affected.
“I know that I’m in a position of privilege and power, and I realise that with that comes responsibility. I take responsibility for what happens at my show.
“We have had a lot of conversations over the last few weeks about the show, our workplace and what we want for the future, we have made the necessary changes and today we are starting a new chapter.”
Addressing reports that she is not who she appears to be on TV, she said: “I am that person that you see on TV. I am also a lot of other things,” and recalled she started saying “be kind to one another” at the end of each show after the suicide of a young man named Tyler Clementi.
She added: “Being known as the ‘be kind lady’ is a tricky position to be in,” and described herself as a “work in progress”.
It comes after a Buzzfeed News investigation made a series of claims about the alleged toxic culture on the daytime talk show that has been on the air since 2003.
Buzzfeed spoke to former employees who made allegations of racism, unfair dismissal, intimidation and an overall toxic environment, perpetuated by the show’s senior producers.
DeGeneres added: “My intention is always to be the best person I can be and if I’ve ever let someone down, if I’ve ever hurt their feelings, I am so sorry for that.
“If that is ever the case I have let myself down and I’ve hurt myself as well because I always try to grow as a person.”