After a hiatus since the May writers’ strike, “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” made a highly anticipated return to television screens. However, the atmosphere was charged with controversy as allegations regarding the show’s workplace environment surfaced in a detailed Rolling Stone investigation.
During his opening monologue, Fallon expressed his excitement, exclaiming, “I missed you, oh my god! Five months off, and we are back!” While Fallon did not directly address the allegations onscreen, he did commend the writers for securing a fair deal they deserved, light-heartedly noting, “the only writers who spent all summer trying to go back to the office.”
Rolling Stone’s investigation spoke with current and former employees, revealing claims of erratic behavior and a revolving door of showrunners and leadership teams, painting a picture of an unhealthy work environment over the years. Some staffers reported making complaints to HR, while others mentioned the toll on their mental health due to their alleged experiences.
On the day of the report’s publication, Fallon addressed current employees, expressing regret for inadvertently fostering such an atmosphere. “It’s embarrassing and I feel so bad,” he stated. The sincerity of his message was noted by those present.
NBC defended the show, emphasizing their commitment to a respectful work environment. They stated that issues raised by employees have been thoroughly investigated and appropriate action taken. Fallon’s representatives did not provide an on-the-record comment.
Showrunner Chris Miller responded to the investigation in an email to employees, stating that the reported atmosphere did not reflect the overall culture of their team. Nevertheless, he found it disheartening to see a publication that did not capture the positive and inclusive environment he believed they had created.
Rolling Stone reached out to 80 current and former Tonight Show staffers, and while many praised Fallon’s talent, none agreed to speak on the record or had positive comments about working on the show.
As of now, Fallon has not publicly addressed the allegations in any capacity. This includes not mentioning them on his late-night program, social media accounts, or on the podcast “Strike Force Five,” co-hosted with fellow late-night hosts. The podcast was created to support their staff financially during the writers’ strike.
Guests Matthew McConaughey and John Mayer appeared on Monday night’s episode, discussing McConaughey’s new children’s book, “Just Because.” The return of the show, amidst the backdrop of controversy, has left many viewers and fans eagerly awaiting Fallon’s next move. 🎙️📺 #TonightShowReturn #FallonControversy #JimmyFallonResponds 🌟