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Top producers for “The Ellen Degeneres Show” are facing backlash from union employees who say they’ve been left in the dark about work and pay amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, according to a Variety report.
Degeneres' main stage crew of approximately 30 people were faced with virtual radio silence and no written guidance about the fate of their work for weeks from the end of March to April 9 following the job shutdown prompted by the outbreak of COVID-19, insiders told the outlet exclusively.
Calls to supervisors were only sporadically answered, but crew members were still left questioning what was going on, according to the report.
Then, last week, almost the entire crew was reportedly told to prepare for a 60 percent pay decrease.
A Warner Bros. Television spokesperson told the outlet the crew has been consistently paid, albeit to reflect fewer hours worked. A rep did not immediately respond to FOX Business' request for comment.
“Our executive producers and Telepictures are committed to taking care of our staff and crew and have made decisions first and foremost with them in mind,” the spokesperson told Variety, admitting that the situation could have been handled differently.
As for Degeneres’ at-home production, show-makers allegedly outsourced to a non-union company, which most crew members learned through social media posts in early April, according to the report.
A Warner Bros. spokesperson attributed the need for an outside crew team to COVID-19-related requirements and said the move was cleared with union reps.
“Due to social distancing requirements, technical changes in the way the show is produced had to be made to comply with city ordinances and public health protocols,” the Warner Bros. rep said.
The spokesperson noted the introduction of the third-party team did not result in firings or layoffs of any pre-existing crew members.