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Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon apologises to staff after toxic workplace claims

the tonight show jimmy fallon
Fallon apologises after toxic workplace claimsNBC Universal

Note: The following article contains discussion of themes including suicide.

Jimmy Fallon has apologised to staff on The Tonight Show after allegations of a toxic working environment on the show emerged.

A new report published by Rolling Stone includes claims from 14 former and two current employees on the show, alleging erratic behaviour from the host and chaotic leadership behind the scenes with nine showrunners over its nine-year run.

It is claimed that Fallon has snapped at crew members and belittled and berated staffers out of frustration, with his mood varying, one former employee saying: "Sometimes we would get nice Jimmy, but that sometimes was not a lot."

the tonight show jimmy fallon
NBC Universal

It is also alleged that “nobody told Jimmy, ‘No’", and that coupled with a large turnaround of leadership led many to lose faith.

The report alleges that staffers' mental health has suffered, some referring to guest rooms as "crying rooms" – as that's where they would go to release emotions – with one former employee claiming that they were put on anti-anxiety medication, while others are in therapy and some have experienced suicidal ideation.

Rolling Stone says they contacted numerous more former and current staffers on The Tonight Show, with none wanting to go on the record – and while they praised Fallon's talent, none had positive things to say about working on the show.

still from the tonight show with jimmy fallon
NBCUniversal - Sky

Fallon himself has now responded to the report in a Zoom meeting with staffers, the presenter 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.

“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.”

Broadcaster NBC has also released a statement, a spokesperson saying: “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.”

We encourage anyone who identifies with the topics raised in this article to reach out. Information about how to access support is available via the NHS, and organisations who can offer help include Samaritans on 116 123 or Mind on 0300 123 3393.

Readers in the US are encouraged to visit mentalhealth.gov or the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

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