Kelly Clarkson received praise and calls for “full accountability” from viewers after she addressed recent allegations of a toxic workplace environment from current and former employees of her daytime talk show.
The allegations were highlighted in a Rolling Stone article published May 12, in which the mostly former employees of “The Kelly Clarkson Show” spoke of mistreatment and favoritism from producers, deteriorating mental health because of treatment, lack of accountability despite multiple HR complaints, retaliation for filing HR complaints, and inadequate pay among lower-level staffers.
“I love my team at ‘The Kelly Clarkson Show,’ and to find out that anyone is feeling unheard and-or disrespected on the show is unacceptable,” the original “American Idol” winner said in a statement posted to her social media accounts over the weekend. “I have always been, and will continue to be, committed to creating and maintaining a safe and healthy environment.”
The “Kelly Clarkson Show,” which is the third highest-rated syndicated daytime talk show on TV, recently announced it is moving its studio shoots from Los Angeles to New York later this year to receive tax credits in the Empire State. In her statement, Clarkson said that she and her senior staff would commit to leadership training, including her team moving from L.A. and her new team in New York.
Among those moving coasts with Clarkson is showrunner and executive producer Alex Duda, who former staffers allege is responsible for creating the toxic workplace, according to Rolling Stone. Duda previously worked on “The Tyra Banks Show” and “Steve Harvey.”
The employees recalled instances of bullying at the hands of producers who report to Duda. One said Duda reprimanded them for asking executive producers what they would do to address the spread of anti-Asian hate crimes and were further retaliated against after the employee reported it to HR.
“We are committed to a safe and respectful work environment and take workplace complaints very seriously and to insinuate otherwise is untrue,” NBCUniversal said in a statement in response to the Rolling Stone report. “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.”
Staffers said in the Rolling Stone report that Clarkson was likely unaware of the alleged mistreatment, with one former employee describing her as “fantastic” and as someone who treats her staff with “dignity and is incredibly appreciative.”
Viewers and former colleagues of Clarkson’s agreed with supportive statements posted online, and reacted positively to Clarkson’s recent statement.
“I shot the original promo commercial w/ Kelly for her show back in 2019. she really has a heart of gold,” wrote actress @jacqueenin on Twitter.
“Beautiful statement, Kelly,” agreed Ryan White-Nobles, editor of TV Source. “We know you wouldn’t condone anyone being nasty on a show bearing your name.”
“The definition of the AMERICAN IDOL,” wrote @LiuYilong1.
In a comment beneath Clarkson’s statement on Instagram, Matt Fraser, a psychic and former guest on the “Clarkson Show” said he “was treated with nothing but respect & professionalism by Kelly and her team,” but added that he was “sorry that someone did not have the same experience I did.”
Courtney Jackson, a producer of brand partnership on the show, also left a comment on Instagram, celebrating Clarkson’s statement and disagreeing with the Rolling Stone report, writing that “it couldn’t be farther from the truth.”
She described the show’s workplace as a “loving and compassionate environment” and praised showrunner Duda for being “an integral part of that goodness.”
Writer and author Craig Seymour also applauded Clarkson’s comments but called on her to do more to “accept full accountability” and suggested she “hire a liason whose job is to regularly report to her about the workplace environment.”
“It seems like many of the problems were caused, less [because] of training issues, than [because] producers were weaponizing access to her,” Seymour continued. “She should also do random drop-ins at the production office, so she can feel the vibes herself. And she should listen in on random ‘booking’ calls to make sure her people are treating publicists & artists professionally.”
This story originally appeared on LA Times