A former resident DJ on The Ellen DeGeneres Show has spoken out about his personal experiences working on the daytime talk show confirming the multiple allegations about the show’s workplace environment.
Tony Okungbowa, formerly known on the show as DJ Tony, explained in an Instagram post on the toxic environment that he felt working on the series, he appeared on the talk show for 10 years from 2003 to 2013.
“Hey Guys, I hope you are all keeping safe out there during these trying times. I have been getting calls asking me about the Ellen Degeneres Show and I would like to address the time I spent there,” he opened up with his caption on Wednesday (August 5).
“I was on air talent from 2003-2006 and from 2007 -2013. While I am grateful for the opportunity it afforded me, I did experience and feel the toxicity of the environment and I stand with my former colleagues in their quest to create a healthier and more inclusive workplace as the show moves forward,” the now 52-year-old actor who stars on the CBS sitcom Bob Hearts Abishola.
BuzzFeed News first published an op-ed in mid-July released by one current and 10 former employees who spoke anonymously about the environment on set. They made claims of racial microaggressions, being penalized for taking medical leaves of absence, and said that they feared retribution for raising complaints.
DeGeneres responded to her employees in a memo to address the allegations on July 30.
"My name is on the show and everything we do and I take responsibility for that," she wrote in the memo obtained by People. "Alongside Warner Bros, we immediately began an internal investigation and we are taking steps, together, to correct the issues. As we've grown exponentially, I've not been able to stay on top of everything and relied on others to do their jobs as they knew I'd want them done. Clearly some didn't. That will now change and I'm committed to ensuring this does not happen again."
Comedian Kevin Hart defended his friend Ellen DeGeneres amid the allegation. Sharing his thoughts on his Instagram on Tuesday (August 4), Hart said that DeGeneres has always been nice to his family and has known the Emmy-award winning host for years.
“It’s crazy to see my friend go thru what she’s going thru publicly,” Hart opened his post with. “ I have known Ellen for years and I can honestly say that she’s one of the dopest people on the f***ing planet. She has treated my family and my team with love and respect from day 1.”
It is reported that the embattled host is expected to return to her talk show in early September.