Rolling Stone published an exposé on Friday, May 12, in which several past employees were interviewed about their experience on set. According to the report, the staffers — all of whom are veterans in the entertainment industry — claim that they were overworked, underpaid and found the environment to be “traumatizing to 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 staffer, who remained anonymous, told to the outlet.
Another staffer claimed that Clarkson, 41, has “no clue how unhappy” the team is when the cameras stop rolling, before a third reiterated that she was “fantastic” to be around.
The former employees further allege that many of them have needed to take second jobs as babysitters, dog walkers and Uber Eats drivers in order to cover their bills and supplement their allegedly low salaries. They also claim that they’ve shared their complaints with the show’s human resources department to no avail.
The report also calls out the show’s executive producer, Alex Duda, who allegedly “shields” Clarkson from the staffer’s claims.
“I think Alex Duda’s a monster,” another interviewee told Rolling Stone before another alleged that Duda has cursed at staffers on stage. “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.”
Neither the “Miss Independent” songstress nor Duda have commented on the report.
A spokesperson for NBCU told Us Weekly in a statement that they are “committed to a safe and respectful work environment” and take such complaints “very seriously.”
“When issues are reported they are promptly reviewed, investigated and acted upon as appropriate,” their statement noted. “The Kelly Clarkson Show strives to build a safe, respectful and equitable workplace that nurtures a culture of inclusivity and creativity.”
“Nobody is going to fill Ellen’s shoes,” the Voice mentor told Variety in September 2022. “I hold … the Ellens [of the world] in such high regard. Very few people can conquer what they conquered. My team is very stoked, and I believe in my team. But by no means am I filling anyone shoes — I don’t want that pressure.”
The Kelly Clarkson Show, which has won 13 Daytime Emmys, is also set to move production from Los Angeles to New York City for the next season. (The show will air inside Rockefeller Center, where several other NBC shows are filmed.)
“Kelly is really excited for this next chapter and looking forward to a fresh start,” a source exclusively told Us Weekly earlier this month. “This move won’t have much of an impact on Kelly and Brandon [Blackstock]’s coparenting relationship since they already live in different states and she has primary custody.”
The American Idol champ and Blackstock, 46, split in 2020 after nearly seven years of marriage. After their messy divorce was finalized in March 2022, they’ve continued to jointly raise daughter River Rose, 8, and son Remington, 7. (While Clarkson has primary custody of their minor children, the music manager gets monthly visitations.)
“She has a great coparenting relationship with Brendan, but things haven’t always been easy in terms of their personal relationship,” a second source told Us in April. “However, they’ve come a long way and are handling things with their kids really well.”