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Australian TV exec 'told not to look' at Ellen DeGeneres

Australian TV exec 'told not to look' at Ellen DeGeneres© Cover Media

Australian TV executive Neil Breen was allegedly told not to look at or speak to Ellen DeGeneres when she appeared on a show in 2013.

The former boss of The Today Show told 4BC, the radio station where he is now a host, that Ellen was initially supposed to co-host the Australian programme during her tour seven years ago - but the plan was continually changed by her team, reportedly due to the star's demands.

It was eventually agreed that entertainment reporter Richard Wilkins would interview the Finding Dory star, but when he and the journalist arrived at "one of the plush hotels in Melbourne" on the day of the interview, he revealed the pair were met with a string of demands.

"The producer called us aside and said, 'Now Neil, no one is to talk to Ellen. You don't talk to her, you don't approach her, you don't look at her',"' Breen said.

"'She'll come in, she'll sit down, she'll talk to Richard and then Ellen will leave'... I found the whole thing bizarre," he added.

During the interview itself, Breen also claimed he had to ask Ellen's staff to stop laughing at her jokes because it was interrupting the recording. However, he doesn't know if Ellen knew what was happening, "because I never got to talk to her".

"I have no idea whether she's a nice person or not, I wouldn't have a clue," he added. "But I can tell you the people who work with her walked on eggshells the whole time.

"We're there to do an interview to promote what she's doing, but you can't look at her? Someone get real."

The allegations come as The Ellen DeGeneres Show faces an internal investigation following multiple allegations of a "toxic" and "bullying" workplace culture. Ellen and her team are now subject to an internal probe by WarnerMedia, which will look into "staff experiences on set".

Ellen has reportedly sent a memo to show staff, which was obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, expressing her regret at the recent allegations.

"On day one of our show, I told everyone in our first meeting that The Ellen DeGeneres Show would be a place of happiness..." she wrote. "Obviously, something changed, and I am disappointed to learn that this has not been the case...

"For that, I am sorry."


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