Jimmy Fallon reportedly apologizes to “Tonight Show” staff after allegations of toxic workplace

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Late night host Jimmy Fallon has been accused of perpetuating a toxic work environment by two current and 14 former employees of “The Tonight Show,” who spoke to Rolling Stone on the condition of anonymity out of fear of retaliation.

Fallon is accused of being drunk at work and exhibiting erratic behavior. The workplace atmosphere was described as “glum” and several former employees told Rolling Stone that working for the NBC late-night talk show affected their mental health. 

According to Rolling Stone, Fallon apologized to staff in a Zoom meeting Thursday night after the article was published, saying: “It’s embarrassing and I feel so bad.” An NBC spokesperson did not comment on the meeting.

In a statement to CBS News, an NBC spokesperson said: “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,” the spokesperson said. “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.”

Some of the people who spoke to Rolling Stone complained about the quick turnover of leadership at the show. Some said Fallon’s bad moods affected the atmosphere of the workplace and that he berated them in front of coworkers. Some accused him of being inebriated at work, mentioning alleged occasions in 2017, 2019 and 2020.

Two employees alleged Fallon scolded a crew member who was handling cue cards during a taping of the show with Jerry Seinfeld, calling it “uncomfortable.” 

Seinfeld, however, said in a statement to Rolling Stone that he remembers that moment and “it was not uncomfortable at all. “This is so stupid,” Seinfeld said. “I teased Jimmy about a flub, and we all had a fun laugh about how rarely Jimmy is thrown off. It was not uncomfortable at all. Jimmy and I still occasionally recall it and laugh. Idiotic twisting of events.”

Several current employees told Entertainment Tonight the Rolling Stone exposé “misrepresented” their experiences at the workplace. 

“I always look forward to coming into work, and it is a true work family. People are people and have good and bad days, but I have to say, I can’t think of any bad days or times I’ve had at the show,” one person told ET.

“The Tonight Show,” which has been renewed until 2026, according to Rolling Stone, is currently on pause due to the WGA and SAG AFTRA strikes. Following short stints by several showrunners, Chris Miller took on the role in March 2022.

As the unions that represent writers and actors negotiate contracts with major motion picture studios, many jobs in the entertainment industry have been put on pause. Fallon joined forces with fellow late-night hosts Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Meyers and John Oliver to launch a podcast called “Strike Force Five,” vowing all the proceeds will go to writers who have been striking since May.

“I am so grateful for Jimmy and the show’s support over the strike,” an assistant told ET. “That should tell you about the kind of guy he is, even the late-night host competitors get along.”

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