'Tonight Show' host Jimmy Fallon apologized to staffers following bombshell report on toxic workplace allegations from employees

September 9, 2023
Ben Marquis

Jimmy Fallon, the seemingly always charming and witty host of NBC's "The Tonight Show," was alleged in a bombshell report this week to actually be an erratic and unpredictably moody boss presiding over a toxic work environment for the show's employees.

Fallon reportedly issued an apology to staffers in the immediate wake of that report, and NBC also issued a statement that indirectly addressed some of the concerns raised, according to Breitbart.

Fallon apologized

The Rolling Stone reported Thursday evening that Fallon and showrunner Chris Miller held a Zoom call with show staffers during which the host apologized in regard to the claims made against him by more than a dozen current and former employees who alleged an abusive and hostile workplace.

Fallon reportedly said he never intended to "create that type of atmosphere for the show" and that "It’s embarrassing and I feel so bad."

According to employees who participated in the call, the late-night star, who seemed "pretty earnest" in his profuse apologies, reiterated that he was "Sorry if I embarrassed you and your family and friends … I feel so bad I can’t even tell you." He also reportedly said, "I want the show to be fun, [it] should be inclusive to everybody," and added, "It should be the best show."

NBC also issued a statement that, while making no direct mention of Fallon himself, nonetheless appeared to touch on the allegations raised, and 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 network added. "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."

Alleged toxic work environment

That alleged apology from Fallon and the statement from NBC came just hours after Rolling Stone had reported exclusively Thursday morning about the chaotic and nightmarish experience of working under Fallon more than a dozen current and former employees had shared with the outlet.

Those claims included that Fallon was erratic and highly unpredictable on a day-to-day basis -- and sometimes allegedly drunk -- and would unleash his temper on anybody whom he perceived to have made any mistakes. They also included allegations that the show's HR department did little to nothing in response to complaints made, and sometimes even seemed to retaliate against those who expressed concerns.

All of that allegedly led some employees to suffer mental health issues, including some even feeling suicidal at times, and to live in fear of unintentionally antagonizing the star and provoking his wrath or getting summarily fired. A big factor in that toxic situation, according to several employees, was the constantly changing leadership team at "The Tonight Show," which has had nine showrunners in the nine years it has been on the air.

"Nobody told Jimmy, ‘No.’ Everybody walked on eggshells, especially showrunners," one former employee explained. "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."

"It’s a bummer because it was my dream job," another former employee told the outlet. "Writing for late night is a lot of people’s dream jobs, and they’re coming into this and it becomes a nightmare very quickly. It’s sad that it’s like that, especially knowing that it doesn’t have to be that way."

Showrunner Miller disputed article's claims

Rolling Stone, in its follow-up report on Fallon's apology, also shared an internal email it had obtained from a current employee from showrunner Miller, who joined the program last year, that said, "I wanted to make you all aware of an online story that just hit on rollingstone.com that includes past allegations of inappropriate behavior at the show."

"While I know the reporter reached out to many of you before the piece ran, I don’t believe what’s written is reflective of the overall culture of our extraordinary team that I’m so lucky and proud to work with every day," Miller added. "The place described in the article is not the place I know. Still, it’s disappointing to see something published that does not capture the positive and inclusive environment I believe we have created together."

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