On Thursday (7 September), Rolling Stone published a report in which 14 ex-staff members and two current employees shared their experiences with the magazine, claiming that employees were in a “constant state of fear” due, in part, to US talk show host’s allegedly “erratic” behaviour.
Two staffers alleged that there was one moment in which Fallon berated a crew member who was holding cue cards during a recording of an interview with actor and comedian Seinfeld.
According to the employees, Seinfeld, 69, told Fallon, 48, to apologise, which he apparently did. They added that the incident was cut from the version of the interview that made it onto TV.
“It was very awkward, and Jerry [Seinfeld] was like, ‘You should apologise to him,’ almost trying to make it a joke,” a former employee said. “It was one of the strangest moments ever and so many people were there, so it’s kind of hard to forget.”
Seinfeld sent a statement to Rolling Stone after the report came out, saying: “This is 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.
“It was not uncomfortable at all. Jimmy and I still occasionally recall it and laugh. Idiotic twisting of events.”
Elsewhere in the report, seven former employees told the publication that their mental health was impacted by their alleged experiences while working on the programme.
Numerous people claimed it is “common knowledge” that “Fallon’s temperament, mood, and treatment of staffers is erratic”.
“Nobody told Jimmy, ‘No.’ Everybody walked on eggshells, especially showrunners,” a former employee claimed.
“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 introduced a new showrunner every year for the past nine years.
Fallon, who has hosted the legacy talk show on NBC since 2014, reportedly apologised to staffers on video call, saying: “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.”
He added: “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.”
A spokesperson for NBC defended the programme in a statement made to Rolling Stone.
“We are incredibly proud of The Tonight Show, and providing a respectful working environment is a top priority,” the spokesperson said. “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 behaviour inconsistent with our policies to report their concerns so that we may address them accordingly.”