Jimmy Fallon apologizes to employees of the „Tonight Show“ through a video call.

Moderator Fallon: »Kann gar nicht sagen, wie schlecht ich mich fühle«

Moderator Fallon: „I cannot express how terrible I feel.“

Foto: Todd Owyoung / NBC / Getty Images

The US late-night host Jimmy Fallon apologized to his team for a described toxic work environment and his contribution to it. As reported by several American media outlets, Fallon addressed the employees in a Zoom conference.

„Ich kann es nicht in Worte fassen, wie unangenehm und schlecht ich mich fühle“, sagte Fallon. Er bedauerte, dass er seine Kollegen sowie deren Familien und Freunde in Verlegenheit gebracht habe. „Es tut mir aufrichtig leid.“

Hinter den Kulissen der Show herrsche eine »düstere Atmosphäre«, hatte ein Mitarbeiter der US-Zeitschrift »Rolling Stone«  gesagt. Ein anderer gab an, man fürchte sich vor Fallons »Ausbrüchen«. Das Magazin hat eigenen Angaben zufolge mit 14 ehemaligen und zwei aktuellen Fallon-Mitarbeitern gesprochen.

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Im Schutz der Anonymität hatten die Untergebenen ein ganz anderes Bild von ihrem Chef gezeichnet, als es die Öffentlichkeit kennt: Fallon sei aufbrausend, unberechenbar, mache, was er wolle. Sieben Crewmitglieder geben dem Bericht zufolge sogar an, ihre mentale Gesundheit sei durch das Verhalten Fallons und anderer Vorgesetzter beeinträchtigt worden. »Psychisch befand ich mich am Tiefpunkt meines Lebens. Ich wollte nicht mehr leben«, zitiert das Magazin eine der Arbeitskräfte.

During the video call discussing the allegations, which was described as brief, Jimmy Fallon reportedly continued by saying, „I want the show to be fun. It should be inclusive for everyone, it should be funny, it should be the best show with the best people.“

Since 2014, Fallon has been hosting the „Tonight Show“ on the US network NBC. During this time, the entertainer has become a star, known for his friendly and somewhat apolitical demeanor. He appeals to a wide audience and is loved by everyone. Recently, he hosted a press conference in London for the Rolling Stones‘ comeback album.

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The accusations made by employees at home are not only directed towards the producers of the show and the network, who enable the toxic work environment – but Jimmy Fallon himself is particularly in focus: working under him means constantly facing the risk of a „bad Jimmy day“. On such days, the atmosphere is terrible. „When Jimmy is in a bad mood, it’s a damn day for everyone. People in the office don’t joke around, don’t hang out, don’t talk to each other.“

Several employees also made allegations of alcohol abuse. Fallon apparently showed up drunk to work in 2017. Additionally, staff members claimed to have smelled alcohol on Fallon’s breath on various occasions in 2019 and 2020. According to eight former employees, Fallon’s behavior seemed to depend on whether he was hungover from the previous night. In such cases, the motto was to „avoid eye contact, avoid making mistakes.“ A former employee concludes that it is „very sad that this truly talented man created such a terrible environment for the people there.“

According to „Rolling Stone,“ the NBC network initially released a statement defending the show but not mentioning Fallon: „We are incredibly proud of the ‚Tonight Show,‘ and creating a respectful work environment is our top priority,“ it said. „Like any workplace, employees have raised concerns here. These concerns have been investigated and appropriate actions have been taken if necessary.“