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The “Kelly Clarkson Show” is under fire for allegedly creating a “toxic” work environment that has reportedly left staffers feeling “overworked, underpaid” and “traumatized.”
One current and 10 former employees of the hit daytime talk show spoke to Rolling Stone for a bombshell exposé published Friday in an effort to pull back the curtain on the harmful culture allegedly taking place behind the scenes.
The staffers claimed they were often “bullied and intimidated” by producers and it began to negatively affect their mental health.
“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?’” one former worker — who, like the others, spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution — recalled to the magazine.
Another former employee told the outlet they had to see a psychiatrist for the first time in their life because they “truly couldn’t handle it mentally.”
The ex-worker called working on “The Kelly Clarkson Show” by “far the worst experience I’ve ever had in my entire life,” and added, “It deterred me from wanting to work in daytime ever again. When I say I was traumatized, I was really traumatized.”
Aside from the mental trauma they allegedly experienced, several staffers said the show didn’t even pay them enough to be able to live solely on those salaries.
Many claimed to Rolling Stone that they took on other jobs as baby-sitters, dog walkers and Uber Eats drivers to help pay their bills.
However, the employees across the board noted that they do not believe the show’s host, Kelly Clarkson, is aware of how dismal her workplace is because they believe she’s been shielded from it.
“NBC is protecting the show because it’s their new money maker, but Kelly has no clue how unhappy her staff is,” a former staffer claimed to the magazine.
Another called Clarkson, 41, “fantastic” and said she is a person who “never treats anyone with anything but dignity and is incredibly appreciative.”
“I would be shocked if she knew,” they added. “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.”
Reps for Clarkson did not immediately return Page Six’s request for comment.
The former staffers all seemed to be cognizant, though, that there is one villain in particular allegedly fueling the destructive workplace culture.
“I think Alex Duda’s a monster,” a former employee told Rolling Stone of the show’s executive producer, adding that the exec, who has worked on the likes of “The Tyra Banks Show” and “The Talk,” according to IMDb, has allegedly “done this on every show she’s worked on.”
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A producer who reported to Duda claimed to the mag that the exec allegedly “yelled and cursed at them multiple times onstage,” causing them to develop “so much anxiety” that they would “regularly vomit and exhibit physical signs of sickness.”
“This job deteriorated my mental health,” the worker added.
Another ex-staffer told the magazine that they felt “bullied, picked on, and put in uncomfortable positions” by Duda, including one time when there was a racial issue discussed in a meeting.
The former employee, who is white, said they brought up wanting to diversify Clarkson’s audience, but Duda allegedly responded, “Why don’t black people want to come to the show? Why don’t black people want to see Kelly?”
A separate former employee said they also once brought up race in the context of how the show planned to address the rise of anti-Asian hate crimes, but they were allegedly reprimanded for doing so.
After that staffer reported the incident to human resources, they claimed they were “bullied, yelled at, and left out of future meetings by the executive producers they complained about.”
Duda is not the only culprit of perpetuating the toxicity, however, as another ex-staffer said their production manager, whose identity was not disclosed, was allegedly “verbally abusive to them and others.”
“He would speak in a way that you’re not supposed to in a professional environment — cursing, raising his voice, and throwing a huge temper tantrum,” the former employee claimed to Rolling Stone.
“Other people who know him would laugh it off and say, ‘Oh, he’s in a bad mood,’ but it shouldn’t be laughed off. Why does he get a pass for bad behavior?”
Seven former staffers reportedly shared their negative experiences in their exit interviews with NBCUniversal.
One claimed they had a follow-up call with HR, and although they were told at the time that the the producers’ behavior was “unprofessional” the same producers allegedly still ended up getting promotions.
“I don’t know what HR does at that show, frankly,” the former employee told Rolling Stone. “Nothing of consequence happened.”
Another ex-staffer reiterated that sentiment, claiming they felt “didn’t have the support” from HR that they “really needed.”
“What’s the point of HR? They’re lying to you, too,” they claimed. “They make it seem like they’re there for you, and then when push comes to shove they’re not around.”
Some pointed out that “The Kelly Clarkson Show” is just another example of the “toxicity of daytime,” referencing the alleged inappropriate behavior that took place on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” which ultimately led to that talk show’s demise.
“All these daytime shows are supposed to make you feel good and be happy,” an ex-employee said.
“Kelly [Clarkson] uses a sign-off, ‘Make it a great day, and if it’s not great, change it,’ but it’s hard to exist and work in a machine that’s pumping out this happy, bubbly, positive messaging [when] you have people here who are just treated badly.”
Another added, “People shouldn’t be treated like this. Especially when you’re working on a TV show that’s winning Emmys and bringing in millions of ad dollars.”
A spokesperson for NBC, the network that airs the show, tells Page Six in response to Rolling Stone’s report, “We are committed to a safe and respectful work environment and take workplace complaints very seriously and to insinuate otherwise is untrue.
“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.”
Duda did immediately return our request for comment.
According to Rolling Stone, the Writers Guild of America has launched an investigation into the Emmy-winning talk show.
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