A former producer on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" is speaking out on camera for the first time about what it was like working for the talk show host. "It was very toxic, very nerve-wracking, very stressful, we all walked on eggshells all the time," said Hedda Muskat, who was with the show when it launched in 2003.
"We were told from the beginning, don't talk to Ellen, don't do this, you can't go into her office," Muskat told Inside Edition. Muskat said that despite DeGeneres's "queen of nice" reputation, it became clear early on that it would not be a pleasant place to work. One alleged incident with executive producer Ed Glavin left her shaken.
"We were in our production meetings, and she would watch Ed go off on people," Muskat said. "Ellen would look at Ed and she would laugh, because I was hoping she was going to say 'Ed, you can't be yelling at crew this way, you can't be yelling at people this way.' She laughed and she said, 'Every production needs their dog.'"
"He took the role of being the attack dog (so) that she didn't have to now be the attack dog. She didn't have to yell."
Muskat won two daytime Emmys before she was let go in 2004.
"As a host, she's amazing," Muskat said. "But as a boss and someone running the show from behind the scenes, she's a different person, she's not the person people see in front of the camera."
When asked if she thought anything would change, Muskat said "No, because she should have apologized 16 years ago. This environment, toxic culture that she created in the office has been going on for 16 years."
The "Ellen Show" staff returned to work Monday remotely after several weeks of being on summer hiatus. They're gearing up for the start of the 18th season in September. Executives have assured employees that DeGeneres will continue as host despite rumors to the contrary. On Tuesday, Katy Perry rallied around the embattled host.
"I know I can’t speak for anyone else’s experience besides my own, but I want to acknowledge that I have only ever had positive takeaways from my time with Ellen. I think we all have witnessed the light & continual fight for equality that she has brought to the world through her platform for decades," Perry said.
Comedian Kevin Hart added his support, writing on Instagram, "I have known Ellen for years and I can honestly say that she’s one of the dopest people on the f*****g planet. She has treated my family and my team with love and respect from day 1."
She also found an unlikely ally in Republican Sen. Ted Cruz.
"I don’t know Ellen, but...the whole “scandal” look(s) like an exercise in Cancel Culture trying to destroy her," Cruz said.