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To Ell' and back Ellen DeGeneres apologises after toxic workplace accusations

Talk show host apologises for toxic workplace and joins host of celebs forced to say sorry

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Ellen DeGeneres

Ellen DeGeneres

Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Christian Bale

Christian Bale

AP

Mel Gibson

Mel Gibson

Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber

WireImage

Liam Neeson

Liam Neeson

REUTERS

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Ellen DeGeneres

Ellen DeGeneres has publicly apologised this week over accusations of toxicity when her show returned in America.

"Things happen here that never should have happened," the host said.

Warner Bros, which makes her programme for NBC TV, started investigating her show in July after complaints of a toxic workplace culture - and three top producers have been ousted.

Ellen started the 18th season of her daytime talk show on Monday with a lengthy apology that addressed reports describing her as a boss who led a toxic workplace.

"If you're watching because you love me, thank you," she said on her return from a summer hiatus. "And if you're watching because you don't love me, welcome.

"As you may have heard this summer, there were allegations of a toxic work environment at our show," she noted.

"And then there was an investigation. I learned that things happen here that never should have happened.

"I take that very seriously. And I want to say, I am so sorry to the people who were affected. I know that I'm in a position of privilege and power. And I realised that with that comes responsibility, and I take responsibility for what happens at my show."

In July former employees said they had experienced "racism, fear and intimidation" on the programme and were fired after taking time off for medical leave or bereavement. A former black employee said she was the victim of racist comments from staff members.

Ellen is not the first celebrity to eat humble pie - let's take a look at a few others who've held their hands up for a variety of other incidents and said 'sorry'.

REESE WITHERSPOON

Reese (44) had a pristine reputation until the spring of 2013, when she was seen on videotape challenging a police officer who'd pulled her and her husband over on suspicion of driving under the influence.

On the tape, Witherspoon could be heard making arrogant comments like, "do you know my name?" and "you're about to find out who I am," trying to dissuade the officer from arresting her. She was arrested anyway.

The actress initially cancelled TV appearances following the incident, but she did release an apologetic statement and later ate her words on morning TV.

"We went out to dinner in Atlanta, and we had one too many glasses of wine, and we thought we were fine to drive and we absolutely were not," she said on Good Morning America. "It's completely unacceptable, and we are so sorry and embarrassed. We know better, and we shouldn't have done that."

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE

Justin (39) was mealy mouthed with an apology following Janet Jackson's infamous wardrobe malfunction at the Superbowl in 2004 when he ripped open her costume to reveal a pierced nipple.

"Listen, I know it's been a rough week on everybody," Timberlake said in a statement. "What occurred was unintentional and completely regrettable, and I apologise if you guys were offended."

KANYE WEST

West made headlines in 2009 when he interrupted Taylor Swift's acceptance speech at the MTV Video Music Awards, announcing: "Yo, Taylor, I'm really happy for you, I'ma let you finish, but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time! One of the best videos of all time!"

The singer was criticised for brazenly cutting her off and ruining her winning moment and faced a massive backlash from fans.

West (43), who is bipolar and has been making bizarre comments on Twitter lately, issued an apology afterwards to the singer and her mother: "I'm sooooooo sorry to Taylor Swift and her fans and her mum. I spoke to her mother right after and she said the same thing my mother would've said. She is very talented! I like the lyrics about being a cheerleader and she's in the bleachers! I'm in the wrong for going on stage and taking away from her moment!"

He continued: "I'm not crazy y'all, I'm just real. Sorry for that!!! I really feel bad for Taylor and I'm sincerely sorry!!! Much respect!!!"

KRISTEN STEWART

A massive scandal erupted when pictures of Stewart kissing married director Rupert Sanders were published in 2012.

Twilight fans were up in arms over how Kristen (30) could cheat on her beloved co-star Robert Pattinson, while the controversy ended Sanders' marriage to British model Liberty Ross.

"I'm deeply sorry for the hurt and embarrassment I've caused to those close to me and everyone this has affected," Stewart said in an out-of-character statement. "This momentary discretion has jeopardised the most important thing in my life, the person I love and respect the most, Rob. I love him, I love him, I'm so sorry."

JUSTIN BIEBER

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Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber

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Justin Bieber

Justin (26) was forced to issue a statement to apologise for using the n-word in a racist joke which surfaced in 2014 from when he was aged 15.

"I'm very sorry," the Canadian said. "I take all my friendships with people of all cultures very seriously and I apologise for offending or hurting anyone with my childish and inexcusable behaviour."

CHRIS BROWN

Brown issued a public apology via a video message for beating former girlfriend Rihanna just hours before the pair were due to perform at the Grammy Awards in February 2009.

The attack left Rihanna with heavy bruising and a "mouthful of blood" according to police reports.

The 31-year-old said in a two-minute video on his website in July that year: "I wish I had the chance to live those few moments again, but unfortunately I can't. I have told Rihanna countless times and I am telling you today that I am truly, truly sorry. What I did was unacceptable - 100 per cent. I can only ask and pray that you forgive me.

"I have let a lot of people down, I realise that. Nobody is more disappointed in me than I am."

ALEC BALDWIN

Baldwin was forced to apologise for being a bad dad in 2007 when he left a vile voicemail on his 11-year-old daughter, Ireland's phone, calling her a "rude thoughtless pig," adding: "You don't have the brains or the decency as a human being."

Alec (62) took a lot of flak for the way he spoke to his daughter and blamed the stress of his custody fight with ex-wife Kim Basinger.

"I'm sorry, as everyone who knows me is aware, for losing my temper with my child," he said. "I have been driven to the edge by parental alienation for many years now. You have to go through this to understand. (Although I hope you never do.) I am sorry for what happened."

CHRISTIAN BALE

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Christian Bale

Christian Bale

AP

Christian Bale

It's not often that a celebrity admits to acting like a "punk," but Bale did so after audio of him launching an expletive-ridden tirade at a crew member on the set of Terminator Salvation was made public.

Bale apologised unreservedly on a Los Angeles radio station, saying it had been "miserable" for him.

"I was out of order beyond belief," the 46-year-old said in 2009. "I was way out of order. I acted like a punk. I regret that. I'm an actor and I don't quite know how to handle this movie star thing."

MEL GIBSON

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Mel Gibson

Mel Gibson

Mel Gibson

Gibson was publicly lambasted in 2006 when he was arrested for driving under the influence

The Braveheart star said at the time: "Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world."

The 64-year-old apologised the next day.

"I want to apologise specifically to everyone in the Jewish community for the vitriolic and harmful words that I said to a law enforcement officer the night I was arrested on a DUI," he said, amid a major backlash.

JOHNNY DEPP

Actor Johnny Depp and his ex wife Amber Heard issued a sombre apology for failing to declare their two Yorkshire terriers properly when entering Australia in 2016.

Heard was spared a conviction over the dog-smuggling saga by an Australian court. She pleaded guilty to knowingly producing a false or misleading document, while two other charges of illegally importing her dogs were dismissed.

In the video apology released by the Australian government, a stony-faced Heard (34) sat alongside Depp (57) - who are now both embroiled in a bitter libel battle in the UK - to state she was "truly sorry that Pistol and Boo were not declared. Protecting Australia is important."

LIAM NEESON

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Liam Neeson

Liam Neeson

REUTERS

Liam Neeson

Antrim actor Liam caused consternation early last year when he discussed a past event in London in which he wanted to bait a black man into fighting him to avenge the rape of a friend over 40 years ago.

"The horror of what happened to my friend ignited irrational thoughts that do not represent the person I am," he said in his apology.

"In trying to explain those feelings today, I missed the point and hurt many people at a time when language is so often weaponised and an entire community of innocent people are targeted in acts of rage.

" What I failed to realise is that this is not about justifying my anger all those years ago, it is also about the impact my words have today. I was wrong to do what I did. I recognise that, although the comments I made do not reflect, in any way, my true feelings nor me, they were hurtful and divisive. I profoundly apologise."

While he was promoting his thriller Cold Pursuit, Neeson (68) recalled an incident in which he wanted to kill "some black bastard" upon learning that his close friend had been brutally raped.

"I went up and down areas with a cosh hoping I'd be approached by somebody - I'm ashamed to say that - and I did it for maybe a week, hoping some 'black bastard' would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know?

"So that I could kill him," he said at the time.