Jimmy Fallon is being called out in a bombshell new story.
The 48-year-old host of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon is the subject of a new report from Rolling Stone, in which 16 current and former staffers claim his erratic behavior spoiled their “dream” of working on The Tonight Show.
According to two current and 14 former employees, The Tonight Show has allegedly been a “toxic workplace for years — far outside the boundaries of what’s considered normal in the high-pressure world of late-night TV.”
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The employees call out Jimmy‘s “erratic behavior” and “ever-changing leadership teams,” including nine showrunners in nine years, who “seemingly don’t know how to say no to Jimmy.”
Former employees say it’s a “pretty glum atmosphere,” with some alleging they were “belittled and intimidated by their bosses, including Fallon himself.”
The workers also spoke out about Jimmy‘s “outbursts,” and though many of them allegedly spoke to HR about issues, the problems continued.
The former staffers who spoke to Rolling Stone requested anonymity out of fear of retaliation.
“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,” one staffer said.
Rolling Stone contacted more than 50 Tonight Show employees, past and present.
“While many of them praised Fallon’s immense talent and comedic gifts, not a single one agreed to speak on the record or had positive things to say about working on The Tonight Show,” they noted, nor would any of the showrunners since 2014 speak to the show’s environment – or give statements of support.
“Nobody told Jimmy, ‘No.’ Everybody walked on eggshells, especially showrunners. 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 former staffer also said.
Three people said they experienced suicidal ideation while working there.
“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. 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?’” one 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. 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,” NBC said in a statement in response to the story.
A source tells us that the RS story represents the perspectives of less than one percent of the nearly 300 current staffers.
“And though there were some accusations of toxicity specifically, that has not been a recurring sentiment around other Tonight Show showrunners. And would not be fair to categorize it that way. More importantly, if you look at the present day, the show has had a well-liked, highly respected showrunner at the helm for the past year and a half. He helped the show find its post-pandemic, in-person groove and is now navigating the strike as thoughtful as possible given the circumstances.”
The source added that the Tonight Show has “had more frequent turnover of showrunners than other late-night shows, but that is not representative of any toxic environment at the show. Plus, that showrunner tally is somewhat misleading as it does not demonstrate the leadership teams consisting of co-showrunners…showrunners have moved on from the role for a variety of reasons and these changes have taken place to meet the ever-evolving needs of the show – and while it may be unsettling for some staff members, each of these decisions has been made with consideration of the best interest of the Tonight Show and its staffers as a whole. Look at the turnover across shows and other productions we are in line.”
“Working at a late-night show, or on any sort of production that is putting a show on the air every single day can be extremely demanding. While everyone on the show is working towards the common goal of creating a fun, comedic, energetic show, this process is not without long days and stressful moments. Not dissimilar to a newsroom, feedback and a fast pace come with the territory,” they added.
Representatives for Jimmy would not comment on the record for the story to Rolling Stone.
For the full details, head to RollingStone.com.
Days before, late night TV hosts including Jimmy teamed up to show support for staff.