Crying rooms and drunken intimidation: Every new allegation against TV's 'nice guy' Jimmy Fallon.

In the past couple of years, exposés from the sets of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Dr. Phil and most recently The Kelly Clarkson Show have laid out accusations of bullying and toxic workplaces among American talk shows - and now we can add The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon to that list.

The show is best known for its light-hearted, gushy interviews led by comedian Jimmy Fallon. But more than a dozen former and current staff members — ranging from production crew to office staff to writers — have told Rolling Stone about a culture of toxicity far beyond what you'd expect in the competitive, high-pressure late-night TV environment.

Employees said the issues began at the very top with Fallon himself and trickled down its layers of management.

Here are their claims.

Jimmy Fallon's erratic moods.

Staffers told Rolling Stone it was common knowledge that Fallon's temperament and mood was erratic.

Employees said they had witnessed Fallon snap at crew and belittle staffers, leading them to establish the phrase "we're up against it" as code to warn each other if he was "not having a good day".

"It was like, if Jimmy is in a bad mood, everyone's day is f**ked," one former employee said. "People wouldn't joke around the office, and they wouldn't stand around and talk to each other. It was very much like, focus on whatever it is you have to do because Jimmy's in a bad mood, and if he sees that, he might fly off."

Several staffers stated that the unpredictable environment affected their mental health so much that some allegedly referred to the dressing rooms as "crying rooms".

For years, there have been rumours about Fallon's relationship with alcohol. In 2016, the New York Post published a story alleging that executives at the show's network NBC were concerned about his drinking.


Fallon denied any issues in a profile with the New York Times the following year.

But two employees told Rolling Stone they witnessed Fallon allegedly drunk at work in 2017, and two others said they believed they smelled alcohol on his breath in 2019 and 2020.

Eight employees stated Fallon's behaviour seemed dependent on whether he was hungover or not.

"Sometimes we would get nice Jimmy, but that sometimes was not a lot. It was just really, really sad to me that this really talented man created such a horrible environment for the people there."

Two employees remember seeing Fallon scold the crew member in charge of cue cards during a taping with Jerry Seinfeld.

Seinfeld allegedly told Fallon to apologise, which he did, and this version of the segment did not make it to air.

After Rolling Stone published their article, Seinfeld disputed the employees categorisation of events as uncomfortable in a statement.

"This is so stupid," he said. "I remember this moment quite well... I teased Jimmy about a flub, and we all had a fun laugh about how rarely Jimmy is thrown off. It was not uncomfortable at all. Jimmy and I still occasionally recall it and laugh. Idiotic twisting of events."

Allegations of bullying and intimidation.

The investigation points out that The Tonight Show has had a very high turnover, especially at the upper level, with nine different showrunners over the course of nine years.

It goes into great detail about showrunners who allegedly made the environment toxic.

There is a major focus on Jamie Granet-Bederman, who was a showrunner from 2020 to March 2022.

Among the allegations, one Black employee claimed she kept asking them "What is going on with your hair?" and another said they witnessed her comment "We're just eating a lot today and not caring about what we look like?" to staffers.


Another former employee said Granet-Bederman attended an HR-conducted exit interview after they resigned, which "felt as if it was an intimidation tactic". The employee said they reported issues with the showrunner to HR, only to learn that HR had fed the information back to her.

"They are the worst bosses I've ever had in my life," one employee said of Granet-Bederman and her co-showrunner Nedaa Sweiss. "They use that position of power to bully and treat the staff that way, and the network is aware of how they treat people. They not only continue to enable it, but they reward it."

Many of the employees said their mental health deteriorated throughout their time there, with some saying they experienced suicidal ideation or had to take medication for the first time.

Jimmy Fallon: "It's embarrassing and I feel so bad."

Within hours of the Rolling Stone report, Fallon apologised to staffers during a Zoom meeting, Variety learned.

"It's embarrassing and I feel so bad. Sorry if I embarrassed you and your family and friends. I feel so bad I can't even tell you," he reportedly told them.

Variety said the meeting was brief, with Fallon also saying: "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."

Production of The Tonight Show was paused in May due to the writers' strike. In 2021, it was renewed until 2026.

Feature image: Getty/NBC.

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