Kelly Clarkson earned some flak from her fans on Friday for ignoring concerns about a new report claiming she has allowed the set of her talk show to become a ‘toxic’ workplace.
The original report in Rolling Stone placed the blame with several of Clarkson’s producers, and observers were quick to make comparisons between her and Ellen DeGeneres, whose popular talk show was soiled by similar claims.
As the backlash mounted on social media, Clarkson, 41, finally addressed the issue with a lengthy message posted to her Instagram page Friday night.
She vowed that she and the rest of the ‘senior staff’ would undergo ‘leadership training’ in order ‘to ensure that any notion of toxicity is eradicated.’
‘In my 20 years in the entertainment industry, I’ve always led with my heart and what I believed to be right,’ the songstress declared.
Posting through it: Kelly Clarkson drew flak from her fans on Friday after she announced an upcoming single without addressing a Rolling Stone report claiming The Kelly Clarkson Show is a ‘toxic’ workplace; seen in March in Hollywood
Statement: She vowed that she and the rest of the ‘senior staff’ would undergo ‘leadership training’ in order ‘to ensure that any notion of toxicity is eradicated’
‘I love my team at “The Kelly Clarkson Show”, and to find out that anyone is feeling unheard and or disrespected on this show is unacceptable,’ she continued.
‘I have always been, and will continue to be, committed to creating and maintaining a safe and healthy environment at “The Kelly Clarkson Show,”‘ she insisted.
‘As we prepare for a move to the east coast, I am more committed than ever to ensuring that not only our team that is moving, but also our new team in NY, is comprised of the best and kindest in the business,’ added Clarkson.
‘Part of that build will include leadership training for all of the senior staff, including myself,’ the Since U Been Gone hitmaker revealed.
‘There is always room to grow and ensure we are all being/becoming the best version of ourselves in any business, especially when it comes to leadership, to ensure that any notion of toxicity is eradicated.’
The singer–songwriter provoked the criticism when she announced the release of a new song, Favorite Kind Of High, which will be included on her upcoming album Chemistry.
Several people jumped into the comments to call her out for her silence about the allegations about the behind-the-scenes situation on her daytime series.
‘Uhhhhh. Are you going to address what’s happening with your show?’ wrote one angry fan. ‘The toxic environment with the producers? The potential WGA violations involving producers writing your episodes? This is extremely concerning, honestly.’
Tone deaf: The singer–songwriter set off the firestorm when she announced the release of a new song, Favorite Kind Of High, which will be included on her upcoming album Chemistry
‘Very disappointing to hear about the toxic environment at TKCS,’ wrote another user.
‘You clearly don’t treat your workers well. They’re overworked, underpaid, and struggling with their mental health. RESIGN,’ wrote one particularly upset individual. ‘Thankfully your writers are currently striking against @nbc and hopefully will get you off the air not too long after. That’s what you deserve for not training your workers properly.’
‘PLEASE ADDRESS THE TOXIC WORKING ENVIRONMENT AT YOUR TALK SHOW BEFORE YOU BECOME THE NEXT ELLEN,’ added another fan.
‘Please help get rid of the toxic environment behind the scenes,’ pleaded another user. ‘People are going to watch how you react to this situation now that you know what’s been going on. Please address it before your show becomes another Ellen.’
Despite the concerns from her fans, multiple sources who spoke to Rolling Stone believed that Clarkson may have been unaware of how her employees were being treated.
In the report, staff members came forward to speak up about their experiences of ‘bullying, verbal abuse, and retaliation from high-level producers, and no help from human resources when those issues were reported.’
While Clarkson’s was called ‘fantastic’ and not named as a bully, executive producer Alex Duda was described as ‘a monster.’
The staffers, who wished to remain anonymous out of fear of ‘retribution,’ also stated that they don’t believe’ the mother-of-two ‘has a sense of how unhappy employees are with the working conditions.’
When asked about the claims, a NBCU spokesperson told DailyMail.com they are ‘committed to a safe and respectful work environment and take workplace complaints very seriously and to insinuate otherwise is untrue.’
Outraged: Several fans took to the comments to call her out for seemingly ignoring the complaints from 11 current and former employees about terrible working conditions
Out of the loop? Despite the concerns from her fans, multiple sources who spoke to Rolling Stone believed that Clarkson may have been unaware of how her employees were being treated; seen in March in Hollywood
‘When issues are reported they are promptly reviewed, investigated and acted upon as appropriate,’ the representative said in a statement. ‘The Kelly Clarkson Show strives to build a safe, respectful and equitable workplace that nurtures a culture of inclusivity and creativity.’
The three-time Grammy winner’s talk show became an immediate hit upon its debut in 2019, two years before Ellen DeGeneres was accused of also having a toxic work environment on her show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
One former employee stated: ‘NBC is protecting the show because it’s their new money maker, but Kelly has no clue how unhappy her staff is.’
Another recalled: ‘I remember going up on the roof of the stage to cry, being like, ‘Oh, my gosh, what am I doing? Why am I putting myself through this?’
Many former employees pointed at Duda as toxicity and insisted she blocks the host from hearing complaints about unfair treatment.
‘I have a friend who’s an executive producer who warned me about taking this job, because apparently she has done this on every show she’s worked on,’ one past staffer claimed.
While all 11 employees said they believe Clarkson is in the dark over much of her crew’s suffering, they pointed out their wages were too low to afford basic necessities, without a side gig.
Many staffers say they pick up babysitting gigs, drive for Uber Eats and walk dogs, in order to pay their expenses.
‘Kelly is fantastic. She is a person who never treats anyone with anything but dignity and is incredibly appreciative,’ one former employee said.
They continued: ‘I would be shocked if she knew. I’d be floored if she knew the staff wasn’t getting paid for two weeks of Christmas hiatus. The Kelly that I interacted with and that everyone knows would probably be pretty aghast to learn that.’
Another detailed Duda’s alleged fiery temper, which they said ‘deteriorated’ their mental health, and left them with with so much anxiety they would ‘regularly vomit.’
Another former employee stated they took a leave of absence due to protect their mental health after feeling ‘bullied and intimidated by producers.’
Oh no: The three-time Grammy winner’s talk show became an immediate hit upon its debut in 2019, two years before Ellen DeGeneres was accused of also having a toxic work environment on her show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show (seen in 2015)
Disheartening: While Clarkson’s was called ‘fantastic’ and not named as bully, executive producer Alex Duda was described as ‘a monster’
Hard to hear: While all 11 employees said they believe Clarkson is in the dark over much of her crew’s suffering, they pointed out their wages were too low to afford basic necessities, without a side gig
Toxic: Another former employee stated they took a leave of absence due to protect their mental health after feeling ‘bullied and intimidated by producers’
They claimed producers ‘went out of their way to make staffers feel scared to ask questions and get their work done.’
To navigate the stress, the former employee sought help from a psychiatrist for the first time in their life because they ‘truly couldn’t handle it mentally.’
Despite working in the entertainment industry for years on numerous other sets, they said The Kelly Clarkson Show ‘is by far the worst experience’ they’ve ‘ever had in’ in their ‘entire life.’
‘It deterred me from wanting to work in daytime ever again,’ they say. ‘When I say I was traumatized, I was really traumatized.’
Rolling Stone also noted that ‘seven former staffers say they used their exit interviews with NBCUniversal to outline their negative experiences.’
One employee claimed they even had a follow-up call with HR after their exit interview about their experiences with two producers, who ultimately were promoted anyway.
‘I don’t know what HR does at that show, frankly,’ the third past employee said. ‘Nothing of consequence happened.’
A fourth former employee said they quit after multiple ‘uncomfortable’ experiences with Duda, who they claim asked ‘why don’t Black people want to come to the show.’
The past staffer said Duda went on to ask them: ‘Why don’t Black people want to see Kelly?’
Another employee says their production manager was ‘verbally abusive’ to them and others and made them and their co-workers feel the need to walk ‘on eggshells around the production manager.’
The staffer went on to state they once saw him ‘throw a stapler across their office.’
‘He would speak in a way that you’re not supposed to in a professional environment — cursing, raising his voice, and throwing a huge temper tantrum,’ the employee said. ‘Other people who know him would laugh it off and say, ‘Oh, he’s in a bad mood,’ but it shouldn’t be laughed off. Why does he get a pass for bad behavior.’
Despite reporting the behavior, the employee said nothing was done.
‘They knew my situation, they knew my story, but I didn’t have the support from them that I really needed,’ they fired. ‘What’s the point of HR? They’re lying to you, too. They make it seem like they’re there for you, and then when push comes to shove they’re not around.’
Another claimed they were ‘reprimanded by Duda for asking how executive producers were going to have the show address the spread of anti-Asian hate crimes.’
Wild: Despite working in the entertainment industry for years on numerous other sets, one employee said that The Kelly Clarkson Show ‘is by far the worst experience I’ve ever had in my entire life’
Target of bullying claims: Alex Duda, seen above, was accused of being ‘verbally abusive’ to staff members (pictured last year)
‘I thought I was doing the right thing. Someone brought this to me and I thought it was important,’ they said. ‘I can’t believe I raised something that wasn’t easy to raise in the first place, got attacked for it, and then when I told them how they made me feel uncomfortable for bringing an important issue to them, they attacked me again and made me feel even worse.’
A current staff member pointed out the irony that Clarkson signs off every episode by saying: ‘Make it a great day, and if it’s not great, change it.’
‘It’s hard to exist and work in a machine that’s pumping out this happy, bubbly, positive messaging [when] you have people here who are just treated badly,’ they explained.
At the end of the day, a former employee told the publication that ‘people shouldn’t be treated like this’ especially when ‘you’re working on a TV show that’s winning Emmys and bringing in millions of ad dollars.’