A total shock. Kelly Clarkson was “blindsided” by allegations of a toxic work environment at her eponymous talk show, an insider exclusively tells Us Weekly.
“She didn’t know anything,” the source says of the “Breakaway” songstress, 41. “She wasn’t aware of anything.”
Earlier this month, Rolling Stone published an exposé in which several past employees of The Kelly Clarkson Show claimed that they were overworked, underpaid and found the work environment to be “traumatizing to their mental health.”
One former staffer, who remained anonymous, claimed that they would go up on the roof of the building where the show filmed and cry. “Oh my gosh, what am I doing?” the alleged former employee recalled thinking. “Why am I putting myself through this?”
Despite the allegations, multiple former employees told the outlet that Clarkson was not aware of what was happening behind the scenes. One former staffer claimed that the pop star had “no clue how unhappy” her team was when the cameras weren’t rolling, while another noted that she was “fantastic” to be around.
After the article made headlines, the American Idol winner addressed the allegations in a statement. “In my 20 years in the entertainment industry, I’ve always led with my heart and what I believed to be right,” she wrote via Instagram on Saturday, May 13. “I love my team at The Kelly Clarkson Show, and to find out that anyone is feeling unheard and disrespected on this show is unacceptable.”
The “Because of You” crooner added: “I have always been, and will continue to be, committed to creating and maintaining a safe and healthy environment at The Kelly Clarkson Show. As we prepare for a move to the East Coast, I am more committed than ever to ensuring that not only our team that is moving but also our new team in [New York] is comprised of the best and kindest in the business.”
The Grammy winner went on to note that she plans to implement changes when the show’s production moves to New York City for its upcoming fifth season.
“Part of that build will include leadership training for all senior staff, including myself,” she explained. “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.”
According to the insider, Clarkson’s statement was her way of “acknowledging the situation” created by the Rolling Stone article. “She has always been incredibly kind, giving, loving and nice to the staff, so that’s why this has been shocking,” the source tells Us of the Voice alum. “She wanted to do the right thing, and that’s why she released the statement.”
NBCUniversal, which produces The Kelly Clarkson Show, also addressed claims that the set was a toxic workplace.
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“We are committed to a safe and respectful work environment and take workplace complaints very seriously and to insinuate otherwise is untrue,” a spokesperson for the company told Us on Friday, May 12. “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.”