Seinfeld says an anecdote in a new exposé about the show's alleged toxic work environment is an 'idiotic twisting of events.'
Following the release of a new Rolling Stone exposé, in which two current and 14 former staffers at The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon opened up about the alleged "toxic workplace" at the late-night show, Seinfeld refuted an anecdote in which he was mentioned, calling it an "idiotic twisting of events."
In the article, two employees recall a specific "uncomfortable" incident in which Fallon allegedly publicly "scolded" a crew member in charge of his cue cards while taping a segment with Seinfeld -- prompting Seinfeld to tell Fallon to apologize, which he then allegedly did.
"It was very awkward, and Jerry [Seinfeld] was like, 'You should apologize to him,' almost trying to make it a joke," a former employee claims in the piece. "It was one of the strangest moments ever and so many people were there, so it's kind of hard to forget."
Following the publication of the story, Seinfeld sent a statement to Rolling Stone in response: "This is so stupid. 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."
A spokesperson for NBC also gave a statement in response to the Rolling Stone piece, but did not mention Fallon by name.
"We are incredibly proud of The Tonight Show, and providing a respectful working environment is a top priority," the spokesperson said. "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."
On Thursday, ET's Nischelle Turner spoke with journalist Krystie Lee Yandoli, who wrote the exposé, about Seinfeld's response to the story, and why she was appreciative of the comic adding his perspective to the public narrative.
"I'm really glad that Jerry responded to us. We reached out a few times prior to publishing and once we published, you know, representatives for him got in touch, and I'm really glad that we were able to include his perspective," Yandoli said.
Yandoli said of Seinfeld's recollection of events, "That’s how he interpreted that moment as someone who was in it, and then I think there are former employees who [recall] it differently based on their experiences."
"It's not surprising to me that three people can have different takeaways from one moment and one experience," Yandoli said. "I think it’s possible, based on the conversations that I've had with the employees that I’ve spoken to, it makes sense to me that given their alleged experiences they felt one way based on something they were seeing."
"They say they were triggered by that because they related to it on a different level," Yandoli said. "They’re at the show every day, they see differently things than Jerry Seinfeld, who was a guest on the show for a few minutes. So it is entirely possible that all of us can experience things and interpret them and feel differently about them. So I’m glad that he responded and I’m glad that we were able to include his perspective."
Following the release of the Rolling Stone piece, several Tonight Show producers and assistants gave positive statements to ET about their time at the show.
"I always look forward to coming into work, and it is a true work family," one producer said. "People are people and have good and bad days, but I have to say, I can’t think of any bad days or times I've had at the show."
A show assistant agreed, telling ET, "Rolling Stone’s story completely misrepresents the atmosphere at the Tonight Show. I’ve had an incredible time working at the show – this is a team that works together and is unendingly creative in making comedy that makes people smile. Jimmy has a great heart and a genuine goal of bringing joy to everyone."
ET has reached out to representatives for Fallon and NBC for more comment.