Trouble on set? The Kelly Clarkson Show made headlines when several staff members deemed it a toxic workplace environment, but their complaints are largely due to compensation concerns, according to one source.
“It’s more about money,” the insider exclusively reveals in the new issue of Us Weekly. “A few staffers may feel it’s a toxic work environment, but it’s not the consensus. … To some degree, it’s blown out of proportion. It’s an emotional response to a low-pay situation.”
The talk show first came under fire on Friday, May 12, when Rolling Stone published an exposé in which several former employees were interviewed about their experiences on set. According to the report, the staffers — all of whom are entertainment industry veterans — allege that they were overworked, underpaid and found the environment “traumatizing to their mental health.”
The source told Us that the problems stemmed from employees learning they “were not getting paid anywhere near what others in the same positions were getting on other successful shows.”
The insider explained: “When the show started, no one was sure if the show would even get picked up, so, staffers got a low rate. But that [rate] got locked in even when the show became a huge success. Other than producers, people who started with [host] Kelly [Clarkson] didn’t have the same monetary success, including low level crew and writers.”
The source also noted that one of the show’s producers is “hard to work for” and has a “notoriously tough” reputation in the industry. “She expects a certain level of work, work ethic and long hours,” the insider explained.
After the exposé was published, Clarkson, 41, issued a statement addressing the allegations.
“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, and to find out that anyone is feeling unheard and disrespected on this show is unacceptable,” the American Idol alum wrote in a Saturday, May 13, Instagram note.
The Texas native then outlined how she plans to implement workplace changes as her eponymous talk show prepares to relocate to New York City for its upcoming fifth season.
“Part of that build will include leadership training for all senior staff, including myself,” Clarkson wrote. “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.”
One staffer told Rolling Stone that the “Breakaway” songstress was “fantastic” to work with and had “no clue how unhappy” her crew was. The Us source echoed the sentiment, telling Us that “Kelly didn’t know what was going on behind the scenes and was more oblivious to it all.”
For more on the Kelly Clarkson Show toxic workplace allegations, watch the video above and pick up the latest issue of Us Weekly, on newsstands now.