(KTLA) — The “Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” has been off the air since May due to the writers’ strike but allegations about the show’s environment have been exposed in an explosive piece in Rolling Stone on Thursday morning about the “Saturday Night Live” alum.
Two current and 14 former employees of the “Tonight Show” said Fallon’s on-air likable persona is a facade. The anonymous sources describe a toxic work environment and claimed that Fallon would act “erratic” and “dismissive.”
“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,” one employee said.
Those who spoke to the magazine claimed Fallon would belittle staffers out of frustration, which led to a high turnover rate.
Some reportedly told human resources during exit interviews, but others said they remained tight-lipped in fear of retaliation.
It’s common knowledge that entertainment television is a stressful industry, but sources said this show was a different case.
Former employees said their mental health was impacted.
“Mentally, I was in the lowest place of my life. I didn’t want to live anymore. I thought about taking my own life all the time,” one former employee revealed. “I knew deep down I would never actually do it, but in my head, I’m like, ‘Why do I think about this all the time?’”
Fallon apologized for the alleged behavior in a “Tonight Show” employee Zoom meeting Thursday, according to Variety. During the meeting, Fallon said:
“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.”
NBC has issued a statement about the article.
It was obtained by The Wrap and reads:
“As in any workplace, we have had employees raise issues; those have been investigated and action has been taken where appropriate,” the statement 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.”
A source told the site that most of the employees at the talk show “are content with their day-to-day” and that the article “represents the perspectives of less than 1% of the late-night program’s nearly 300 current staffers.”