The famous host addressed employees during a recent Zoom meeting, “I feel so bad, I can’t even tell you.”
They admitted to Rolling Stone that they had experienced years of being humiliated and threatened, as well as deteriorating mental health. Mr Fallon has since reportedly apologised.
Depending on whether he was having a “good Jimmy day” or a “bad Jimmy day”, they described Fallon's actions as “erratic”.
Staff claim they frequently experienced angry “outbursts”. The show allegedly had a “cry room” on the set, where employees could escape from the work environment.
For those who addressed their concerns to human resources, according to Rolling Stone, the problems persisted.
In defence, a spokesperson has written to NBC, saying “where employees raised issues” they “have been investigated and action has been taken, where appropriate”.
The full statement reads: “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 current and former employees who spoke to Rolling Stone all want to remain anonymous “out of fear of retaliation”.
Fallon reportedly informed employees following the Rolling Stone investigation: “Sorry if I embarrassed you and your family and friends.”
The claims emphasised the numerous showrunners that The Tonight Show passed through since Fallon took over as the host in 2014, including Josh Lieb, Jim Bell, Gavin Purcell, and Jamie Granet-Bederman, for which Rolling Stone spoke to 50 former and present staff.
Rolling Stone magazine said that although many praised Fallon’s talent, not one agreed to speak on the record or had positive things to say about working on The Tonight Show — and wouldn’t give statements of support, as is common in the entertainment industry.
However, according to sources close to The Tonight Show, most of these charges are outdated, who told Deadline that new showrunner Chris Miller has changed the show’s atmosphere.
The Tonight Show has been hosted by six comedians including Fallon. These include Steve Allen (1954–1957), Jack Paar (1957–1962), Johnny Carson (1962–1992), Jay Leno (1992–2009 and 2010–2014), and Conan O’Brien (2009–2010).
The Tonight Show is currently on hiatus due to the strikes by the WGA and SAG-AFTRA unions representing writers and actors.