The Tonight Show's Jimmy Fallon is the latest talk show host to be accused of creating a "toxic" workplace by a group of 16 current and former staffers. Shocked fans are looking for answers regarding claims that the SNL alum "flies off" at work, allegations of alcoholism and more.
What Has Jimmy Fallon Been Accused of by Current and Former Staffers?
The seemingly amiable host has been accused by two current and 14 former Tonight Show employees of creating a toxic workplace for years, with the environment caused by their show's bosses enabling Fallon's alleged unpredictable behavior, according to a Rolling Stone exposé published on September 7. The thorough reporting claimed that the host's "erratic" behavior has resulted in the turnover of nine showrunners in nine year's time.
“It was like, if Jimmy is in a bad mood, everyone’s day is f--ked,” one former employee told the publication of Fallon alleged mannerisms. “People wouldn’t joke around in the office, and they wouldn’t stand around and talk to each other. It was very much like, focus on whatever it is that you have to do because Jimmy’s in a bad mood, and if he sees that, he might fly off.”
“Sometimes we would get nice Jimmy, but that sometimes was not a lot,” another former worker claimed. “It was just really, really sad to me that this really talented man created such a horrible environment for the people there.”
The former Saturday Night Live star's alleged bad behavior was reportedly tolerated by his showrunners before they would promptly be shown the door “Nobody told Jimmy, ‘No.’ Everybody walked on eggshells, especially showrunners,” one 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.”
Was Jimmy Fallon Accused of Being Drunk While Working on 'The Tonight Show?'
One staffer recalled during a 2017 rehearsal when Fallon crossed out jokes on a sheet of paper, joked with the studio audience then looked back down at the piece of paper.
“He couldn’t remember he had just crossed it out himself,” the employee claimed of Fallon's actions. “I was like, ‘Oh, my God, he [seems] drunk. He doesn’t know what he’s doing. This could be awful — this could be the end of the show right here.’” Another staffer alleged that they witnessed the same incident via their office from a live studio feed.
Two more employees claimed that on separate occasions in 2019 and 2020, they smelled alcohol on Fallon's breath while in the elevator with him during their workday. The article includes eight other former employees who claim that Fallon's moods appeared dependent on if he was hungover.
“When something was wrong, we all knew how to behave afterward, which was just sort of avoid eye contact and don’t make another mistake,” one former staffer alleged. “It would happen over the smallest thing … We would have to shut the whole thing down, the sketch isn’t happening, and when things like that would happen, you would just beat yourself up.”
What Happened With Jimmy Fallon During a Jerry Seinfeld Appearance?
Several employees recalled seeing Fallon scold a production member in charge of cue cards during a segment taping with comedian Jerry Seinfeld. The TV icon reportedly told his friend to apologize to the cue-card holder -- which he allegedly did -- but that it was tough to watch.
“It was very awkward, and Jerry [Seinfeld] was like, ‘You should apologize 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.”
Jerry Seinfeld's representative directed In Touch to the statement provided to Rolling Stone by Seinfeld himself, who said, "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.”
How Has NBC Reacted to the Allegations About Jimmy Fallon?
NBC Universal declined to comment to In Touch about the claims made by the current and former staffers. However, the workplace environment began to improve when new showrunner Chris Miller joined the show in May 2022, a source told Page Six, saying, "He’s brought a renewed enthusiasm and positive energy to the show. Chris prides himself on being available to the staff and a transparent leader," and that "he's exactly what the show needed.”
Has Jimmy Fallon Reacted to the Allegations Made Against Him?
Fallon himself has not yet publicly responded to the allegations, though he held a workplace wide Zoom call in the wake of the initial Rolling Stone report.
Employees that were in the meeting said that Fallon apologized, adding that he had no intention of creating "that type of atmosphere for the show.” “It’s embarrassing and I feel so bad,” Fallon said on the call, according to Rolling Stone. “Sorry if I embarrassed you and your family and friends… I feel so bad I can’t even tell you. I want the show to be fun, [it] should be inclusive to everybody. It should be the best show.”
Meanwhile, Miller emailed the staff after the initial report hit the web, mentioning the publication's attempts to speak to current employees.
“While I know the reporter reached out to many of you before the piece ran, I don’t believe what’s written is reflective of the overall culture of our extraordinary team that I’m so lucky and proud to work with every day," Miller wrote. "The place described in the article is not the place I know. Still, it’s disappointing to see something published that does not capture the positive and inclusive environment I believe we have created together.”
Fallon's team has not responded to In Touch's request for comment.