NBC was seriously concerned about Jimmy Fallon’s alleged drinking problems nearly seven years before ‘Tonight Show’ staffers publicly accused the host of getting drunk on the job.
Page Six exclusively reported in October 2016 that high-ranking channel executives even warned the comedian to cut down on his drinking.
“There were concerns that Fallon was out of control and something could happen while he was drinking,” a source told Us at the time.
“Things got so serious at one point that executives were concerned that Jimmy would separate from his wife. [Nancy Juvonen] because of his drinking, but they fixed it.
Another source claimed that Fallon, now 48, was a “heavy drinker”.
“He sees himself as someone who needs to rehab his image,” the insider told Us in 2016, while another friend previously claimed the comedian cut down on his drinking because he knew. that he had to “be responsible”.
A few months prior to this report, NBC had publicly denied that Fallon had substance abuse issues.
NBC Entertainment president Bob Greenblatt said in a January 2016 statement that the “Saturday Night Live” alum “does not have a drinking problem that any of us are unaware of.”
“He goes out and has fun, and he’s had a few accidents,” the manager added. “There have been discussions about it, [but] the stories are exaggerated on all this.
[Fallon had to have surgery in June 2015 after his wedding ring got caught on a table and “almost ripped [his] finger removed. A few months later, he injured his other hand when he fell on a bottle of Jägermeister.]
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However, two current and 14 former “Tonight Show” employees have come forward to tell Rolling Stone in a bombshell report released Thursday that Fallon seemed to struggle on set over the years.
One person claimed the ‘Fever Pitch’ star appeared drunk while at work in 2017.
Two others claimed his breath was saturated with alcohol during two separate elevator rides in 2019 and 2020.
Fallon’s behavior has also been criticized, with a source saying he acted “erratically” towards members of his management teams.
Some former staffers have also claimed the comedian — along with other “Tonight Show” bosses — belittled and bullied their co-workers.
“It was like Jimmy was in a bad mood, everyone’s day was ruined,” an employee told the publication.
“People weren’t joking in the office and just sitting there talking to each other. It was kind of like you’re focusing on whatever you need to do because Jimmy’s in a bad mood, and if he sees that, he might fly away.
Employees were said to have been so affected by the “toxic” work environment that some were heard joking about wanting to “take their own lives” and used guest changing rooms as “crying rooms”.
At least four people have sought professional help in therapy for their suicidal thoughts, according to Rolling Stone.
Fallon has yet to respond to the allegations, but NBC released a statement to the outlet saying they were “incredibly proud” of the late night talk show and that “providing a respectful work environment is a top priority.”
“As in any workplace, employees have raised issues; these have been investigated and action taken where appropriate,” the network spokesperson added.
“As is always the case, we encourage employees who believe they have experienced or observed behavior inconsistent with our policies to report their concerns so that we can address them accordingly. »
A source from the show also told Page Six on Thursday that the working environment has changed significantly since showrunner Chris Miller took over in May, as he has brought “renewed enthusiasm and positive energy.”
“He’s exactly what the show needed,” the source said, while a producer told us that Fallon is now extremely “engaged” with the staff and “the atmosphere is very different.”