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THR Outlines "Notoriously Toxic" Behavior on Telepictures Talk Shows

Rosie O'Donnell, Ellen DeGeneres

Accusations of harassment and fostering a toxic workplace aren't exclusive to The Ellen DeGeneres Show, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The trade paper interviewed past and former employees of Telepictures, which has produced Ellen and other chatfests, like The Rosie O'Donnell ShowThe RealTMZ, and Extra. These employees cited incidences of verbal abuse, gender discrimination, poor-quality HR departments, nepotism, and "unwarranted firings."

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WarnerMedia conducted an investigation at Ellen earlier this summer, but the company's own business practices are now under review, per Deadline. But an ex-Telepictures producer who worked there in the early 2000s told THR:

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What you had at Ellen are showrunners who came from notoriously toxic environments, so what resulted was the worst of all those worlds. A place where the EPs cater to the host, restrict virtually every other staffer’s access to the host, and then make you work 80- to 90-hour weeks almost for sport 'because that’s what they had to do.' 

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A former Rosie employee called Telepictures' ex-president, Jim Paratore, a "bully" who "set the tone for everyone else." This atmosphere extended to recent hit show The Real, about which execs reportedly made racist comments, dubbing it "the down-market View" or "the ghetto View." Three Ellen staffers said they'd heard jokes at their offices in which people used racial slurs, while many other Telepictures team members cited instances of sexism.

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Telepictures also offered employees contracts "pledging them to the production for any number of years while granting their employers the power to fire them at will." One ex-exec explained:

It’s kind of a mental bullying tactic where people, especially young people, don’t quit because they’re afraid to be sued.hey made everybody from a production assistant to an executive producer sign these contracts. They would bully them and bully them until [even PAs] would stay, thinking that they were going to get sued. If you’re a PA living with four other people in West Hollywood, and this company says they’re going to come after you, you believe them.

Check out the full piece for a complete rundown of the shocking allegations.