Comedian Jerry Seinfeld stood up for late-night presenter Jimmy Fallon following claims by ex-employees to Rolling Stone, recounting an incident where they witnessed Fallon chastise a worker in his presence over the manner in which they held cue cards.
"In response to the tale, Seinfeld commented, "This is so stupid." "I have a clear recollection of that instance... I made a playful comment to Jimmy about a mistake, and we all shared a lighthearted chuckle over how infrequently Jimmy gets flustered."
"It was not uncomfortable at all," Seinfeld said. "Jimmy and I still occasionally recall it and laugh. Idiotic twisting of events."
In stark contrast to a central narrative in a recent Rolling Stone piece on Fallon titled, "Chaos, Comedy, and ‘Crying Rooms’: Inside Jimmy Fallon’s ‘Tonight Show’," Seinfeld asserted the moment was "not uncomfortable at all."
Jimmy Fallon scolded a crew member during a taping with Jerry Seinfeld which got so uncomfortable that Seinfeld told Fallon to apologize.
Fallon’s criticism to employees was often insults like ‘Ugh, lame. What is going on? You’ve outdone yourself’
— DiscussingFilm (@DiscussingFilm) September 7, 2023
The article referenced an event where two employees remembered Fallon reprimanding a staff member for their handling of cue cards while Seinfeld was present during a show recording. Seinfeld's intervention reportedly prompted Fallon to offer an apology to the cue card individual. The article labeled this as an "uncomfortable moment."
"It was very awkward, and Jerry [Seinfeld] was like, ‘You should apologize to him,’ almost trying to make it a joke," a former employee told the magazine. "It was one of the strangest moments ever and so many people were there, so it’s kind of hard to forget."
Following the story, which touched on claims of his "erratic behavior" leading to a "toxic workplace," Fallon is said to have apologized to his team.
"It’s embarrassing, and I feel so bad," Fallon said, according to two employees who were on the Zoom call Thursday evening, per a report from Rolling Stone. "Sorry if I embarrassed you and your family and friends… I feel so bad I can’t even tell you."
The unnamed employees conveyed to Rolling Stone that Fallon expressed he hadn't aimed to "create that type of atmosphere for the show."
Several employees cited in the Rolling Stone piece described their time on Fallon's show as one of the most challenging phases of their professional lives.
A representative from NBC provided a statement to Rolling Stone, saying, "We are incredibly proud of The Tonight Show, and 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. 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."
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