Jimmy Fallon is offering a mea culpa to his staff after reports of toxic workplace behavior surfaced Thursday.
EW has learned that Fallon spoke with and apologized to staff this afternoon after Rolling Stone published a story, citing dozens of current or former employees, that claims "The Tonight Show has been a toxic workplace for years."
"It's embarrassing and I feel so bad. Sorry if I embarrassed you and your family and friends," Fallon said, per Variety, during a Zoom meeting with Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon staff. "I feel so bad I can't even tell you." He added, "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."
Todd Owyoung/NBC via Getty Jimmy Fallon on 'The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon'
According to the Rolling Stone report, some staffers said their mental health was negatively affected during their time on the late-night show, where they alleged the host would act "erratic" and "snap at crew members, express irritation over the smallest of things, and berate and belittle staffers out of frustration."
The show also allegedly had a "cry room" on the set. "It was like, if Jimmy is in a bad mood, everyone's day is f---ed," one former staffer told the outlet. "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."
The report pointed out that possibly exacerbating matters is the fact that the show has had a revolving door of showrunners over the years, since Fallon took over hosting duties from Jay Leno in 2014. In total, nine different people have held the position.
However, a source close to the situation told PEOPLE that newest showrunner Chris Miller has improved things. "The environment at the show has changed completely since Chris Miller took over," the staffer told the outlet. "He's an incredible leader … But I feel like I work for a different show. I've worked in TV for 20 years for a variety of talent, and I'm really proud to work for Jimmy and have immense pride in the show that we produce."
Reps for NBC and Fallon did not return a request for comment.
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