Jimmy Fallon apologises after allegations of toxic work environment


Late night TV show host Jimmy Fallon has apologised to colleagues after allegations emerged about a difficult work environment at the Tonight Show.

During a Zoom call with staff, Fallon, 48, reportedly said he did not intend to “create that type of atmosphere”, Rolling Stone magazine reported.

The apology comes after the magazine published allegations from 16 of the popular US TV show’s current and former staff on 7 September.

The magazine said there is an “ugly environment behind the scenes” that starts “with Fallon’s erratic behaviour, and has trickled down to its ever-changing leadership teams”.

Some complained that the difficult working environment was detrimental to their mental health, whilse others claimed they were fired.

The staff members, who all requested anonymity, said they would refer to guests’ dressing rooms as “crying rooms” as it would be where they let out their emotions about their alleged mistreatment.

Pic: AP
Fallon has spearheaded the show since 2014. Pic: AP

Having not responded to Rolling Stones directly, Fallon – who has spearheaded the programme since 2014 – reportedly told staff that he “feels so bad”.

“Sorry if I embarrassed you and your family and friends… I feel so bad I can’t even tell you,” he said, according to two people who were on a video call over Zoom.

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A spokesperson for The Tonight Show broadcaster, NBC, told Rolling Stone: “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 behaviour inconsistent with our policies to report their concerns so that we may address them accordingly.”

Pic: AP
Fallon in London with members of The Rolling Stones. Pic: AP

The day before the Rolling Stones exclusive was published, Fallon was in London where he interviewed The Rolling Stones‘ Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood in Hackney, east London, as they unveiled their brand-new album.

Allegations of this nature have become more common in Hollywood in recent years.

In 2021, Ellen DeGeneres faced similar accusations about her self-titled prime-time chat show.

The Ellen DeGeneres Show, which ended in 2022 after 19 seasons, had been blighted by allegations of a toxic workplace environment, with three top producers leaving the show in 2020.

Addressing the rumours at the time, DeGeneres apologised to the people affected, adding: “I take responsibility for what happens at my show.”

The comedian denied the decision to end the show altogether was due to the allegations.

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon airs on weeknights in the US and involves comedic sketches, celebrity guest interviews and musical performances.

It is one among many TV shows and films that has been affected by the Hollywood writers’ strike in a dispute over fair pay.

“I’ve got no show without my writers,” Fallon said back in May when addressing the strike action at the Met Gala on New York.