In a recent exposé published by Rolling Stone, current and former employees of "The Tonight Show" have made allegations against host Jimmy Fallon, accusing him of being drunk, dismissive, mean, and erratic. The employees, who chose to remain anonymous, described a toxic work environment that drove some staffers to contemplate suicide. They claimed that dressing rooms meant for guests were used as "crying rooms" for employees brought to tears by Fallon's behavior.
According to the article, there have been nine showrunners on the show since 2014, which suggests an uncertain atmosphere perpetuated by the host. The employees stated that nobody ever told Fallon "no," and that showrunners walked on eggshells around him. They cited his unpredictable behavior and frequent outbursts as reasons for the high turnover rate of showrunners.
The article also highlighted the impact of the tense workplace on the mental health of the employees. Several sought therapy, one took medication for the first time, and three even contemplated suicide. One former employee described constantly thinking about taking their own life.
Fallon has denied reports of having a drinking problem, but according to the article, eight "Tonight Show" workers claimed that his hangovers dictated the mood of the day. They also alleged that Fallon turned criticism of a bit or joke into a personal insult. However, when he berated an employee in front of a studio audience, comedian Jerry Seinfeld intervened and prompted Fallon to apologize.
The article was published amidst strikes by writers and actors in the industry who are advocating for fair wages and better working conditions. While labor grievances are not uncommon, this exposé has garnered significant attention due to the high profile of "The Tonight Show" and Fallon's jovial public persona.
In response to the allegations, NBC stated that it has investigated the issues and taken action when necessary, but notably did not mention Fallon. Fallon's representatives declined to comment on the matter.
The full extent of the damage to Fallon's reputation and the show's future remains to be seen, as "The Tonight Show" has been off the air since May due to the writers' strike.