Jimmy Fallon, the host of “The Tonight Show,” issued a public apology to current and former staffers on Thursday in response to allegations of a toxic work environment on the NBC talk show. Sixteen staff members, including two current employees, came forward, sharing their experiences of a hostile atmosphere that has reportedly persisted for years.
According to a Rolling Stone investigative report, employees described a “pretty glum atmosphere” marked by belittling and intimidation from superiors, including Fallon himself, who was said to have had occasional “outbursts” and erratic behavior. Many former employees recounted a climate where they felt compelled to walk on eggshells due to Fallon’s unpredictable moods, which often disrupted the workplace and made it challenging for them to perform their duties.
Following the publication of the Rolling Stone report, Fallon and showrunner Chris Miller held a Zoom meeting with employees. Fallon expressed remorse for the alleged environment, stating, “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 emphasized his desire for the show to be fun and inclusive for everyone, expressing his vision of it being “the best show.”
Rolling Stone interviewed over 80 current and former staff members, with many acknowledging Fallon’s talent and humor while declining to provide on-record statements about their experiences. However, those who did speak anonymously painted a more negative picture of the show’s work culture.
One recurring issue highlighted in the report was the high turnover of showrunners, with nine different individuals occupying the role in as many years. Former staff members suggested that the lack of checks and balances in the workplace contributed to a sense that “nobody told Jimmy, ‘No,'” and described an environment where jokes about “wanting to kill themselves” were not uncommon.
In response to the article, Miller shared an email with the staff, expressing his disappointment with the portrayal of the show in the report. He maintained that the workplace described was not reflective of the “positive and inclusive environment” he believed had been cultivated on the show.
NBC officials also issued a statement in defense of “The Tonight Show,” stating that providing a respectful working environment was a top priority for the network. They acknowledged that employees had raised concerns in the past, and investigations had been conducted with appropriate actions taken.