Crew members for “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” are upset over a lack of communication from the show’s producers during the coronavirus shutdown, Variety reported on Friday.
The stage crew for DeGeneres’ daytime talk show, a group of over 30 employees, have not received any written communication about their working hours or pay, even though it’s been a month since the show stopped regular production, according to Variety.
What’s more, the show chose to hire an outside, non-union company to help DeGeneres tape her recent episodes from home while most of the stage crew (some of whom have been with the show since it began 17 years ago) have had their hours and pay reduced, according to Variety.
The lack of communication has caused some anxiety for crew members, who have been unsure whether or not to apply for unemployment, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The last episode was filmed on March 9, according to Fox News. The crew was paid for the week of March 16, while the week of March 23 was an already planned “spring break” hiatus.
Although the crew was paid for the week of March 30 after returning from the break, they received a reduction in pay from 10 hours per day to 8 hours, according to Fox.
Producers for “Ellen” told the stage crew last week to expect a 60% pay cut, despite the fact that the show hired a non-union company to produce episodes from DeGeneres’ home, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Crew members said they believe that their treatment has been contrary to what DeGeneres promotes on her show, which is to “be kind,” according to Variety. They also said it is different from what they have seen from other talk shows.
For example, late night show host Jimmy Kimmel paid stagehands from his “own pocket” when “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” initially shut down. Though now that it has returned to the air, the show’s crew is being paid in full by ABC, Variety reported.
Other shows like “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” and “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” have also continued to pay their staff in full and remained “transparent,” according to Variety.
DeGeneres is one of television’s most highly-paid stars, with a net worth of around $330 million, according to Variety.