Former Ellen DeGeneres Show DJ Tony Okungbowa says he felt 'toxicity' on set
Tony Okungbowa, the actor and DJ known to many viewers as DJ Tony of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, is opening up about his experience on the recently embattled program.
In an Instagram post Tuesday, Okungbowa said he "did experience and feel the toxicity of the environment" during his tenure as the show's resident DJ. The performer, who currently stars in CBS' Bob Hearts Abishola, also said he supports former Ellen staffers who have spoken out about alleged mistreatment they faced on set.
"I have been getting calls asking me about the Ellen Degeneres Show and I would like to address the time I spent there. I was on air talent from 2003-2006 and from 2007 -2013," Okungbowa wrote. "While I am grateful for the opportunity it afforded me, I did experience and feel the toxicity of the environment and I stand with my former colleagues in their quest to create a healthier and more inclusive workplace as the show moves forward."
Warner Bros. Television declined to comment on Okungbowa's remarks, and representatives for Okungbowa told EW he has no further comment on the subject at this time. Representatives for host Ellen DeGeneres and the show itself did not immediately respond to request for comment.
DeGeneres been under scrutiny lately in the wake of two BuzzFeed News reports describing a "toxic work environment" behind the scenes of her eponymous talk show, and citing allegations of racism, intimidation, and sexual misconduct. DeGeneres wrote a letter to her staff last week that did not address specific complaints but said in part that "we are taking steps, together, to correct the issues."
Everybody Loves Raymond star Brad Garrett later tweeted that DeGeneres is responsible for setting the tone on her show, writing, "Sorry but it comes from the top @TheEllenShow Know more than one who were treated horribly by her. Common knowledge." Actress Lea Thompson backed up Garrett by replying, "True story," while other celebrities including Kevin Hart and Katy Perry have spoken out in support of DeGeneres.