Jimmy Fallon accused of mistreating ‘Tonight Show’ staff, creating ‘toxic’ work environment

Published: Sep. 7, 2023 at 3:34 PM MDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

NEW YORK (Gray News/TMX) - Numerous current and former “Tonight Show” staffers have reportedly complained about a “toxic working environment” under host Jimmy Fallon.

In a report published Thursday by Rolling Stone magazine, two current and 14 former employees said staff working under Fallon would have to watch out for “good Jimmy days” and “bad Jimmy days.”

The employees, who wished to remain anonymous, said Fallon’s “bad days” were frequently attributed to hangovers or heavy drinking, sometimes while working.

Jimmy Fallon has been accused of mistreating "Tonight Show" staffers.
Jimmy Fallon has been accused of mistreating "Tonight Show" staffers.(MGN | "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon")

The drinking was blamed for episodes of confusion and erratic behavior, both on set and behind the scenes.

The staffers who spoke to the magazine described employees commonly joking about wanting to kill themselves and using guest dressing rooms as “crying rooms.”

In one situation, Fallon was said to have berated a cue-card producer so badly during a taping that guest Jerry Seinfeld awkwardly told him to apologize.

After the report’s publication, Seinfeld provided a statement saying the episode “was not uncomfortable at all. Jimmy and I still occasionally recall it and laugh. Idiotic twisting of events.”

According to Rolling Stone, three employees said they experienced suicidal ideation due to working on the show, and four others said they were in therapy because of the show.

The magazine said it recently contacted more than 80 current and former employees, and “not a single one” had positive things to say about working on “The Tonight Show.”

“Nobody told Jimmy, ‘No.’ Everybody walked on eggshells, especially showrunners,” a former employee reportedly told the magazine. “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.”

The show has had nine showrunners in as many years, according to Rolling Stone’s report.

Fallon took over as host of “The Tonight Show” in 2014, replacing Jay Leno.

An NBC spokesperson sent the following statement to Rolling Stone magazine regarding the report:

“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 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.”

According to the report, the simmering discontent behind the scenes at “The Tonight Show” has been rumored for years, along with Fallon’s alleged drinking problem.

The allegations recall similar discontent behind the scenes of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” which was canceled in 2022 after reports surfaced of staffers describing a toxic work environment.