Late night talk shows naturally come with a high stakes work environment. Every day, writers need to come up with jokes about breaking news and hot topics. Crew members need to wrangle celebrity guests, plan for musical performances, and all of the other last-minute preparations that come with the job.
But according to a new Rolling Stone exposé, the set of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon is more than just cutthroat; it’s downright toxic.
Reporter Krystie Lee Yandoli interviewed 16 current and former staff members about the environment of the show, and the accusations are astounding. Green rooms turned into “crying rooms” where staff members could hide. Fallon was allegedly spotted inebriated on the job several times.
One of the most alarming claims from the Rolling Stone piece, however, is that staff members were body-shamed and criticized for eating.
Several staff members told the outlet that Jamie Granet-Bederman, a showrunner from 2020 to 2022, bullied and mistreated the The Tonight Show crew.
“The employee also says they witnessed Granet-Bederman make comments about how much food people would eat, saying to staffers, 'We’re just eating a lot today and not caring about what we look like?'” Lee Yandoli writes.
Along with yelling, threats, and intimidation, Granet-Bederman’s alleged body-shaming had a major impact on her staff. Another employee reported that they lost almost 20 pounds from the stress and cried themselves to sleep every night.
On top of that, Fallon’s supposedly “erratic” behavior made the set of The Tonight Show even more uncomfortable. Depending on the host’s mood, he was known to snap at and belittle crew members—often in front of their colleagues.
It even got to the point where comedian Jerry Seinfeld apparently stepped in during a taping of the show. Multiple employees told Rolling Stone that Fallon scolded a crew member who was holding cue cards before Seinfeld told the host to apologize in an “uncomfortable” and “awkward” moment. The network eventually aired a different version of the episode.
A spokesperson for NBC told Rolling Stone that “providing a respectful working environment is a top priority.”
“As in any workplace, we have had employees raise issues; those have been investigated and action has been taken where appropriate,” the spokesperson added. “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.”
This is not the first time a celebrity has been accused of fostering a hostile, body-shaming work environment this year. Just last month, three of Lizzo’s former backup dancers filed a lawsuit against the singer for fostering a hostile work environment. Among the slew of scandalous claims, Lizzo was accused of shaming a dancer for gaining weight.
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