American TV host Jimmy Fallon has apologised to the staff of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon after there were allegations of a “toxic” work environment on the show’s set.
The Rolling Stone magazine yesterday came out with a report in which many staffers alleged that The Tonight Show has been a toxic workplace for years due to Fallon’s “erratic behaviour”. Fallon, who took over as the host of the late night programme from Jay Leno in 2014, held a brief Zoom meeting yesterday evening and tendered an apology to the staff, reported American outlet Variety.
“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,” said the 48-year-old TV personality. “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 Rolling Stone spoke to two current and 14 former employees who claimed that the show’s working environment has been “far outside the boundaries of what’s considered normal in the high-pressure world of late-night TV”.
One of the employees said, “It’s a bummer, because it was my dream job. 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.”
According to the staffers, the “ugly” behind-the-scenes environment began at the top, with Fallon displaying “erratic” behaviour that led to constant shake-ups in the show’s leadership teams. There have been nine different showrunners since Fallon started hosting The Tonight Show.
One staffer claimed they were fired without explanation and prior warnings.
According to the report, multiple sources alleged that Fallon had a history of “outbursts” and that he would lash out at staff when under pressure. They also accused the previous senior staff of bullying and belittling them.
The Tonight Show is currently on hiatus due to the strikes by the Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) and Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) unions.