Allegations of Toxic Workplace Culture Surrounding “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
A recent exposé in Rolling Stone magazine has shed light on allegations of a toxic workplace culture behind the scenes of “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.” The in-depth article, based on interviews with two current and 14 former employees, paints a troubling picture of erratic behavior, mistreatment, and mental health struggles within the popular late-night television show.
The article begins with a specific incident from 2017 when host Jimmy Fallon appeared disoriented and confused during a rehearsal. Witnesses claimed that Fallon was unable to remember jokes he had crossed out on his cue card, leading some to speculate about his sobriety. The incident raised concerns about the future of the show and set the stage for a deeper investigation into the show’s working environment.
The Rolling Stone report goes on to detail a pervasive pattern of fluctuating moods and temperament displayed by Jimmy Fallon, referred to as “good Jimmy days” and “bad Jimmy days” by staff. This unpredictable behavior reportedly contributes to a tense atmosphere on set, leading to a high turnover rate among showrunners, with nine different individuals in the past nine years.
Numerous former employees shared their experiences of a toxic workplace culture that took a toll on their mental health. Disturbingly, some claimed to have heard colleagues joking about “wanting to kill themselves,” and alleged that guests’ dressing rooms were informally referred to as “crying rooms” due to the emotional toll of mistreatment.
The article also highlights concerns about the show’s Human Resources department, with several employees expressing a lack of trust in HR to address their complaints. They cite instances of colleagues being fired after raising concerns, which contributed to an overall sense of helplessness among staff members.
The report delves into allegations of Jimmy Fallon’s potential issues with alcohol. While Fallon has previously denied drinking heavily in interviews, two employees stated they witnessed him seemingly inebriated at work in 2017. Two others claimed to have detected the smell of alcohol on his breath during separate incidents in 2019 and 2020. Eight former employees suggested that Fallon’s behavior appeared linked to whether he had been hungover from the previous night.
Employees interviewed in the article described feeling fearful and anxious about interacting with Fallon due to the unpredictability of his behavior. They reported that his feedback was often passive-aggressive and personally insulting, with alleged notes from Fallon cited as evidence.
The summer of 2020 brought additional controversy when a video of Fallon in blackface from an SNL skit resurfaced online. While Fallon publicly apologized, some employees were reportedly dissatisfied with his response and the initial handling of the incident by senior leadership.
The article concludes with a sense of pessimism about the show’s future, given the history of leadership changes and the alleged toxic culture. Employees called for lasting changes in the work environment and accountability from both Jimmy Fallon and NBC to address the reported issues.
Following the publication of the article, Jimmy Fallon reportedly apologized to staff members in an all-hands Zoom call, expressing embarrassment and regret for his behavior. NBC defended the show and emphasized its commitment to providing a respectful working environment.
These allegations and revelations have ignited discussions about workplace dynamics in the entertainment industry and the challenges of addressing issues in high-profile shows like “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.”