Kelly Clarkson has responded to allegations that the work environment at her hit daytime talk show The Kelly Clarkson Show is “toxic” behind the scenes.
Despite the production’s squeaky-clean appearance, 10 former and one current employee of The Kelly Clarkson Show told Rolling Stone they were bullied and harassed by producers, some to the point of tears, vomiting and mental anguish. The staffers, all of whom are said to be entertainment industry veterans, said they were “underpaid,” “overworked” and “traumatized” by the employment experience.
On Saturday, Clarkson, 41, released a statement about the exposé published on Friday.
“In my 20 years in the entertainment industry, I’ve always led with my heart and what I believed to be right,” Clarkson started. “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.”
“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 continued.
Clarkson mentioned the production’s recently announced move from L.A. to New York City and wrote that she is “more committed than ever” to ensuring the production employs only “the best and kindest in the business.”
The Since U Been Gone singer said all members of senior staff, including Clarkson, will take “leadership training” courses.
“There is always room to grow and ensure we are all being/becoming the best versions of ourselves in any business, especially when it comes to leadership. To ensure that any notion of toxicity is eradicated,” she concluded.
In the Rolling Stone article, all 11 of the anonymous sources agreed that Clarkson was likely unaware of how more junior staff members were being treated on set. They claimed executive producer Alex Duda, who was called “a monster” by one former staffer, shields Clarkson from complaints about the “toxic” work environment Duda allegedly created.
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Several of the staffers said they filed HR complaints about harassing behaviour from Duda and others on set, but saw no action taken.
“There’s a culture of non-accountability for some people, and that needs to change,” a former staff member said.
A spokesperson for NBCUniversal, which airs The Kelly Clarkson Show, disputed the toxic work environment claims in a statement to ET on Friday.
“We are committed to a safe and respectful work environment and take workplace complaints very seriously and to insinuate otherwise is untrue,” the statement reads. “When issues are reported they are promptly reviewed, investigated and acted upon as appropriate. The Kelly Clarkson Show strives to build a safe, respectful and equitable workplace that nurtures a culture of inclusivity and creativity.”
The Kelly Clarkson Show is not the first daytime TV production to be branded toxic. The Ellen DeGeneres Show, TMZ and The Tyra Banks Show (which was produced by Duda), among others, have all also faced allegations of employee mistreatment.
The Kelly Clarkson Show premiered on Sept. 9, 2019, and is currently filming its fourth season (though had to halt production as a result of the writer’s strike). The production has been awarded 13 Daytime Emmys, including three for Outstanding Entertainment Talk Show Host for Clarkson.