‘The Tonight Show’ Staffers Speak Out for Jimmy Fallon

Former and current workers from The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon are saying that the show’s cheerful and charming host creates a different atmosphere behind the scenes.

Rolling Stone interviewed two current employees and 14 former employees, including production and office staff. They claim that The Tonight Show has had a harmful work environment for a long time, and they attribute this negativity to Jimmy Fallon’s inconsistent behavior.

NBC told PEOPLE in a statement, “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.”

One of the current employees who talked to PEOPLE magazine said that Jimmy Fallon is excellent at communication and is a very positive person.

“He makes a point of commending you when you do a great job and when he’s happy,” said the employee, who preferred to remain anonymous. “And any feedback I’ve received is always I like, ‘Hey, we don’t need to do that again.’ It’s been very constructive and helpful for me in continuing to put together a show that he’s happy with. I’ve never been belittled, yelled at, nothing like that. It’s all exactly how a boss should give feedback to an employee.”

The employees interviewed by Rolling Stone had a different perspective. They said they had seen Jimmy Fallon get angry with crew members, show irritation over minor issues, and criticize and mistreat staff when he was frustrated. They also mentioned feeling apprehensive about his sudden outbursts and unpredictable conduct.

Rolling Stone reported that the employees had raised their concerns with the HR department at The Tonight Show, but the problems persisted. One former staff member mentioned feeling that the HR department didn’t provide adequate protection or support for them.

According to Rolling Stone, two employees recalled a situation where Jimmy Fallon supposedly reprimanded a crew member responsible for his cue cards during a taping with Jerry Seinfeld. Seinfeld, who was also present, apparently urged Fallon to apologize to the crew member, which Fallon subsequently did, as reported by the outlet.

“It was very awkward, and Jerry [Seinfeld] was like, ‘You should apologize to him,’ almost trying to make it a joke,” a former employee told Rolling Stone. “It was one of the strangest moments ever and so many people were there, so it’s kind of hard to forget.”

Seinfeld, in a statement to PEOPLE, dismissed the portrayal of the situation “so stupid.”

“I remember this moment quite well… I teased Jimmy about a flub, and we all had a fun laugh about how rarely Jimmy is thrown off,” the comedian said. “It was not uncomfortable at all. Jimmy and I still occasionally recall it and laugh. Idiotic twisting of events.”

Rolling Stone said they reached out to about 80 employees while investigating Jimmy Fallon’s alleged behavior. The article pointed out that, although many of them acknowledged Fallon’s considerable talent and comedic abilities, none of them were willing to go on the record or had positive comments about their experience working on The Tonight Show.

Seven former employees have stated that their mental health was negatively affected by their alleged experiences working at The Tonight Show. They believe that Jimmy Fallon’s behavior may have contributed to the high turnover of employees on the show.

The Tonight Show has had nine different leaders in the past nine years, and according to Rolling Stone, none of them were willing to comment publicly or express support for Jimmy Fallon. Additionally, employees mentioned that many top executives on the show don’t hold Fallon accountable for his actions.

According to a staffer interviewed by PEOPLE, they believe that the problems were primarily related to top management rather than Jimmy Fallon. They also mentioned that the work environment has significantly improved under the current showrunner, Chris Miller.

Jimmy Fallon became the host of The Tonight Show in 2014, succeeding Jay Leno. Before that, he hosted Late Night with Jimmy Fallon from 2009 to 2014 and was a cast member on Saturday Night Live from 1998 to 2004.

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon went on a break in May due to a strike by the Writers Guild of America.

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Kanzah Ashfaq

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