Kelly Clarkson responded to the allegations that her daytime TV show The Kelly Clarkson Show has a “toxic” environment that has greatly hindered current and former employees’ mental health.
Last week, one current and ten former employees – all of which remained anonymous – spoke with Rolling Stone about the “traumatizing” experiences they had working for the now four-year-old show.
One former employee shared, “I remember going up on the roof of the stage to cry, being like, ‘Oh, my gosh, what am I doing? Why am I putting myself through this?” with another adding, “This job deteriorated my mental health.”
Between being underpaid, overworked, and overall just not being treated fairly – especially with the ongoing writer’s strike in Hollywood – the employees clarified that they believed Clarkson herself was not aware of their struggles in having a healthy work environment, claiming, “Kelly has no clue how unhappy her staff is.”
“Kelly is fantastic. She is a person who never treats anyone with anything but dignity and is incredibly appreciative,” another employee added. “I would be shocked if she knew. I’d be floored if she knew the staff wasn’t getting paid for two weeks of Christmas hiatus. The Kelly that I interacted with and that everyone knows would probably be pretty aghast to learn that.”
And based on the “Since U Been Gone” singer’s response on Instagram Saturday, it does appear that she was unaware of the unfortunate circumstances.
“In my 20 years in the entertainment industry, I’ve always led with my heart and what I believed to be right. I love my team at The Kelly Clarkson Show,” she wrote in her post. “To find out that anyone is feeling unheard and or disrespected on this show is unacceptable.”
She continued by emphasizing the importance of “maintaining a safe and healthy environment” on set.
“As we prepare for a move to the East Coast, I am more committed than ever to ensuring that not only our team is moving, but also our new team in NY is comprised of the best and kindest in the business.”
“Part of that build will include leadership training for all of the senior staff, including myself,” she added. “There is always room to grow and ensure we are all being/becoming the best version of ourselves in any business, especially when it comes to leadership, to ensure that any notion of toxicity is eradicated.”
Of the execs responsible for the awful working conditions, the employees put much of the blame on executive producer Alex Duda, who is also credited to producing daytime shows like The Tyra Banks Show, Talk Soup, and Steve Harvey.
“I think Alex Duda’s a monster,” a former employee declared. “I have a friend who’s an executive producer who warned me about taking this job, because apparently she has done this on every show she’s worked on.”
Duda has yet to respond to the allegations, but an NBCUniversal spokesperson released a statement, stating they are “committed to a safe and respectful work environment,” clarifying that any complaints made by employees are taken “very seriously and to insinuate otherwise is untrue,” per ABC News.
“When issues are reported they are promptly reviewed, investigated and acted upon as appropriate,” the statement continued. “The Kelly Clarkson Show strives to build a safe, respectful and equitable workplace that nurtures a culture of inclusivity and creativity.”