Jimmy Fallon has offered a mea culpa to his staff after a report highlighted a “pretty glum atmosphere” at The Tonight Show over the years.
Deadline understands that Fallon spoke to staff this afternoon after Rolling Stone published an article that called the NBC show a “toxic workplace”.
“I'm sorry if I embarrassed you. I never set out to create that type of atmosphere at the show. I think sometimes I'm working with the best of the best, you guys are the top of the game,” he told staff according to someone on the call.
He admitted to have done “embarrassing” things in the past. “I want this show to be fun, it should be inclusive for everybody, it should be funny, it should be the best show, the best people. I just wanted to… say I miss you guys.”
The article called Fallon “erratic” at work and suggested that he was “inebriated” and hungover during working hours, with seven former employees saying that their mental health was impacted by working on The Tonight Show.
The claims, which Rolling Stone spoke to 50 former and current employees for, highlighted the number of showrunners that The Tonight Show went through including Josh Lieb, Jim Bell, Gavin Purcell and Jamie Granet-Bederman.
Sources close to The Tonight Show told Deadline that new showrunner Chris Miller has improved the culture of the show and most of these claims are years old.
Miller is understood to have sent an email to staff earlier today. He said that he was “lucky” and “proud” to work with this staff. “I don't believe what is written is reflective of the overall culture of our extraordinary team,” he wrote. “The place described in the article is not the place I know. It does not capture the positive and inclusive environment that I believe we have created together.”
NBC also reacted in a statement earlier today. “We are incredibly proud of The Tonight Show, and providing a respectful working environment is a top priority,” a network spokesperson said in a statement. “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 behavior inconsistent with our policies to report their concerns so that we may address them accordingly.”