Ellen DeGeneres is "starting a new chapter" with her talk show as it returned from its summer break on Monday (Sept 21).
The talk show host has been accused of making a "toxic work environment" on the show's set but she has apologised for what happened, insisting she will "take responsibility" for it all.
Speaking in a monologue at the start of her show, Ellen said: "Oh boy, welcome to the Season 18 of The Ellen DeGeneres Show. If you're watching because you love me, thank you. If you're watching because you don't love me, welcome. How was everybody's summer? Good? Mine was great. Super terrific. I'm so happy to be back in the studio — there are a lot of things I want to talk about. I've been looking forward to addressing it all directly. Unfortunately talking directly to people had been illegal for six months, so I have a virtual audience here instead."
She continued: "All right, let's get to it. As you may have heard, this summer there were allegations of a toxic work environment at our show. And then there was an investigation. I learned that things happened here that never should have happened. I take that very seriously, and I want to say I am so sorry to the people who were affected. I know that I am in a position of privilege and power and I realise that with that comes responsibility, and I take responsibility at what happens at my show. This is The Ellen DeGeneres Show. I am Ellen DeGeneres. We have 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."
She also poked fun at her reputation of being the "be kind" lady, and said that's "a tricky position to be in."
"Being known as the 'be kind' lady is a tricky position to be in," she said. "So let me give you some advice out there if anybody's thinking of changing their title or giving yourself a nickname, do not go with the 'be kind' lady. Don't do it. The truth is I am that person that you see on TV."
Following her speech, a source told People magazine that Ellen poured her heart into her message.
"She didn't hold anything back. It was poignant and funny and very much a candid take on what happened over the summer," the insider said. "She understands her audience wants to hear from her and was looking forward to talking directly to them on Monday."
The source also said Ellen was "connecting with the staff over Zoom" ahead of the episode, and "knows that it's on her to make sure everyone feels like they're being heard and valued".
Watch Ellen's monologue here: