The fourth episode of the Strike Force Five podcast is up and Jimmy Fallon’s new controversy isn’t mentioned.
But there’s a logical reason for that: The episode (and at least one more) was recorded before allegations broke last week that he’s fostered a toxic workplace on NBC’s The Tonight Show.
The latest Spotify podcast episode is hosted by Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert, John Oliver and Seth Meyers, and was released five days after a Rolling Stone report was published that interviewed 16 current and former staffers who anonymously claimed Fallon is prone to erratic behavior that makes working on the iconic series a miserable experience. Employees described Fallon as having “outbursts” and feeling bullied by producers. They also claimed dressing rooms were used as “crying rooms” and that they had suicidal thoughts due to the stress of working in the production’s environment.
The story puts the recently launched podcast — which was launched to benefit the out-of-work staff of each host’s show — in a rather unusual position. For episodes that will be recorded since the story broke, the options for how to proceed are, in the least, somewhat awkward.
Fallon previously addressed the accusations during a Zoom call with his Tonight Show staff last week. Fallon, joined by his showrunner Chris Miller, reportedly told his staff: “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 also said he never intended to “create that type of atmosphere” on The Tonight Show. “I want this show to be fun,” he said. “It should be inclusive for everybody.”
Fallon took over The Tonight Show from Jay Leno in 2014 after five years as the host of NBC’s Late Night. The show has gone through a number of showrunners during his tenure, with no one serving for longer than about two years.
The Strike Force Five podcast is a 12-episode venture on Spotify with the five late-night hosts uniting to help compensate their out-of-work staff during the dual SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes.