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Sunday May 26th

Jimmy Fallon faces reports of toxic workplace culture

<p><em>Fallon is not the first talk show host to deal with allegations of toxic workplace behavior (Photo courtesy of </em><a href="https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0266422/" target=""><em>IMDb</em></a><em>).</em></p>

Fallon is not the first talk show host to deal with allegations of toxic workplace behavior (Photo courtesy of IMDb).

By Maia Venuti
Staff Writer

On Sept. 7, an article in Rolling Stone magazine was released detailing the toxic workplace environment on the set of “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.” 

The article goes through the allegations made by 16 current and former staffers of “The Tonight Show,” who state that Fallon’s erratic behavior, drinking on set and creation of an all-around toxic work environment caused severe damage to their careers and mental health. 

The two current and 14 former Fallon staffers all confirm that the work environment has been toxic for years, alleging that their bosses and even Fallon himself “intimidated and belittled” them into compliance, as per the article. 

The leadership was also constantly changing, with “The Tonight Show” having nine showrunners in the past nine years, which adds a further layer of instability and inconsistency to the situation.

His mood was also a major factor in everything that went on at the show. It is common knowledge to the employees that Fallon will snap at the crew and get irritated over frivolous things. If he was in a bad mood, his feedback to writers would be passive-aggressive and not offering any real criticism, just insults. 

Staff were often afraid of facing one of Fallon’s outbursts, everybody was constantly walking on eggshells and many felt like they could never say no to Fallon unless they wanted to face his tantrums, according to the Rolling Stone report. 

These conditions on their own can constitute a hostile work environment, but combined, these issues have caused poor mental health in many of Fallon’s staff members. Employees said they had work related nightmares, experienced hair thinning from stress, suffered dramatic weight loss and cried themselves to sleep nightly, with some even needing to go on antidepressants to help their mental health. 

These same employees also said they felt such guilt for feeling this way, and that they should be grateful for the opportunity they have, believing that expressing how they felt would make them seem ungrateful. 

A few hours after this scathing article was published, Fallon apologized to his staff in a virtual meeting, calling his behavior “embarrassing” and expressing how bad he feels. He said it was “not [his] goal” to mistreat or make his staff feel bad, and that the show is supposed to be fun and inclusive for all involved. There was no mention of improving the conditions alleged, or a solution moving forward. 

Fallon is not the first talk show host to deal with allegations of toxic workplace behavior, with Ellen DeGeneres facing similar allegations in 2020. Her show ended in 2021. 

Both Fallon and DeGeneres have similar personalities of being universally-liked talk show hosts, both being funny and smiley and marketing themselves as authentic and wanting their show to be fun for everyone involved. 

Their apologies after the allegations came out are also similar. While Fallon’s was shorter than DeGeneres's, both formally apologized without trying to foist the blame onto others. The authenticity of their apologies is subjective, but both say that their shows were meant to be a place for fun and happiness, and that they did not intend to mistreat staff. 

It is unclear where Fallon is going to go from here. “The Tonight Show,” like most other talk shows, has been dark for the past four months due to the ongoing writers’ strike. The full impact of this report has not been felt yet.

Fallon has not yet reached the end of this saga, and it is unclear what the full effect of this will be on his career. Only time will tell if he can successfully navigate this controversy.




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