It appears that talk show hosts getting in trouble for allegedly fostering a toxic work environment is becoming a common trend. Following the Ellen DeGeneres controversy, The Tonight Show's Jimmy Fallon appears to be facing comparable accusations over his professional behavior and workplace conduct.
A recent Rolling Stone report featured former and current staff members of NBC's The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon disclosing details about the host's "erratic" off-stage behavior and the show's "glum" work atmosphere. After this report was published, sources now claim that the talk show host/stand-up comedian has reportedly apologized to the staff members via a Zoom meeting.
In Rolling Stone's report, two current and fourteen former employees revealed details about a toxic workplace culture when discussing their working experiences on The Tonight Show. Furthermore, this suffocating atmosphere has reportedly persisted for years. According to these staffers, Fallon's "erratic behavior" and constantly changing leadership structures within the production were a testament to the show's "ugly" working environment.
The exposé further mentioned how the leadership teams associated with the late-night program supposedly don't know how to say "no" to Fallon. As a result, the rest of the workforce would have to face the brunt of the host's unexpected outbursts. They were also said to have been chastised, intimidated, and disregarded by higher-ups, including Jimmy Fallon. While the entertainment industry is known for its cutthroat, fast-paced work structure, an environment that fosters toxicity stalls the growth of its employees. It stifles them and builds a culture that perpetuates fear and intimidation.
Even though the workers at The Tonight Show complained to HR about the situation, supposedly not much was done to bring forth productive change. Seven former staffers also stated that their mental health suffered as a result of their alleged experiences of working on the show. While some left because of this, others were simply fired.
Amidst such allegations, NBC released the following statement:
"We are incredibly proud of The Tonight Show, and providing a respectful working environment is a top priority. As in any workplace, we have had employees raise issues; those have been investigated and action has been taken where appropriate. As is always the case, we encourage employees who feel they have experienced or observed behavior inconsistent with our policies to report their concerns so that we may address them accordingly."
Details of more harrowing occurrences, including the existence of "crying rooms" in the office, have been mentioned in the Rolling Stone report. In light of such accusations, Jimmy Fallon has issued an apology to the employees over a Zoom call.
Issuing an apology to The Tonight Show staff members, Fallon reportedly claimed the following in the Zoom call, which was said to have been "brief":
"It's embarrassing and I feel so bad. Sorry if I embarrassed you and your family and friends. I feel so bad I can't even tell you. I want this show to be fun, it should be inclusive for everybody, it should be funny, it should be the best show, the best people."
The employees who spoke to Rolling Stone affirmed that they wished to remain anonymous because they were apprehensive about potential retaliation. Other details in the report paint the picture of Fallon's temperamental disposition. Additionally, employees were particularly wary of the days when the talk show host appeared to be in an awful mood. "It was like, if Jimmy is in a bad mood, everyone's day is f*cked," claimed one former worker.
It is unclear whether or not Jimmy Fallon will offer a detailed explanation of such claims at this time. The Tonight Show is presently on hold due to the ongoing SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes. Only time will tell what Fallon's representatives have to comment on the matter.