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Television personality Ellen DeGeneres has publicly apologised for a toxic work environment on the set of her top-rating chat show.

The US comic and presenter – who has hosted her eponymous The Ellen DeGeneres Show since 2003 – addressed her audience on YouTube with a monologue on 21 September, saying that “things happened here that should never have happened”.

“As you may have heard this summer there were allegations of a toxic work environment at our show, and then there was an investigation,” DeGeneres said.

“I learned that things happened here that never should have happened. I take that very seriously, and I want to say I’m so sorry to the people who were affected. I know that I’m in a position of privilege and power, and I realise that with that comes responsibility, and I take responsibility for what happens at my show,” she added.

Her remarks came after former employees working on the TV show made allegations of racial insensitivity and bullying on the set of the long-running series, and claimed sexual misconduct between top executives and lower-level employees.

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Allegations about the show and its host first came to light on Buzzfeed in July, based on interviews with 36 former employees. Three top producers left the show in August after internal investigation by makers Warner Bros found “some flaws in the show’s daily management”.

“The production team had 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,” said DeGeneres.

Red flags for HR of a toxic workplace

  • Employee absenteeism: Toxic workplaces lead to employee burnout, fatigue and illness due to high levels of stress that lead to employee sickness and absenteeism.
  • Narcissistic leadership: Superiors insist you always agree with them and tell them they’re in the right. They have a flagrant disregard for the rules – but expect others to abide by them.
  • Little to no enthusiasm in the office: Are people happy to be working there? Is anyone smiling? Are conversations positive and upbeat? A resounding ‘no’ equates to toxicity.
  • Lack of or negative communication: The team doesn’t get the necessary information to get the job done. An absence of positive feedback and recognition.
  • High staff turnover: When the work culture offers up dysfunction, poor morale, and sickness, people will start looking for greener pastures – and a better workplace.
  • Cliques, gossip and rumours: Colleagues seems to be covering their backs, with little genuine camaraderie but lots of mistrust.