Jimmy Fallon reportedly apologised to The Tonight Show staff over Zoom on Thursday (7 September) after a Rolling Stone investigation exposed allegations of a “toxic workplace”.
Fourteen ex-staff members and two current employees shared their experiences with the magazine, claiming that employees were in a “constant state of fear” due, in part, to Fallon’s allegedly “erratic” behaviour.
Rolling Stone later reported that Fallon and showrunner Chris Miller addressed the report with employees over video call.
“It’s embarrassing and I feel so bad,” Fallon said, according to the magazine, which cites two employees on the call. “Sorry if I embarrassed you and your family and friends… I feel so bad I can’t even tell you.”
The apology was separately confirmed by Deadline and Variety, which reported that Fallon added: “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 Independent has contacted Fallon’s representatives for comment.
Formerly a comedian and Saturday Night Live cast member, Fallon has spearheaded the legacy talk show on NBC since 2014. The programme sees Fallon interviewing the biggest stars in Hollywood, sports and politics as well as featuring light-hearted games and musical interludes.
Seven former employees told Rolling Stone that their mental health was impacted by their alleged experiences while working on the programme.
According to several people speaking to the publication, it is “common knowledge” that “Fallon’s temperament, mood, and treatment of staffers is erratic”.
“Nobody told Jimmy, ‘No.’ Everybody walked on eggshells, especially showrunners,” a former employee claimed.
“You never knew which Jimmy we were going to get and when he was going to throw a hissy fit. Look how many showrunners went so quickly. We know they didn’t last long.”
In the past nine years, the show has introduced a new showrunner each year.
Other revelations in the report included the claim that employees called the guests’ dressing areas “crying rooms”, as it is where they’d go to calm their emotions.
A spokesperson for NBC defended the programme in a statement made to Rolling Stone.
“We are incredibly proud of The Tonight Show, and providing a respectful working environment is a top priority,” the spokesperson said. “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 behaviour inconsistent with our policies to report their concerns so that we may address them accordingly.”
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