A former stage manager for Jimmy Fallon — inherited from when Conan O’Brien hosted “Late Night” — has filed a complaint with the EEOC, accusing Fallon of sexual discrimination. And in a fun little twist, IT’S A DUDE!
Paul Tarascio of Oradell has filed the complaint with the U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission and the New York Division of Human Rights. He claims he got demoted and then fired from his job on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” because, he was told, “Jimmy just prefers to take direction from a woman,” his lawyer tells us. The complaint also alleges that Fallon wanted only female technicians to place microphones on him, and only after a succession of women weren’t up to the task, he allowed a man, someone he’d worked with previously, to do the job. [nj.com]
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Actually, I spoke with someone familiar with the details of the situation, and Tarascio’s case looks pretty specious when you hear the details. Yes, what follows is actually genuine inside information. Woo-hoo! Suck it, journalists!
The details, as they were explained to me, are these:
Tarascio worked on “Late Night” under Conan O’Brien’s reign, and was popular with that crew. However, his personality never quite meshed with the Fallon gang, and even though he was freelance (and thus able to be terminated easily), NBC went through the due process of counseling him about his performance.
According to my source, Tarascio wasn’t demoted at all: he was moved from being front-of-house stage manager (giving Fallon cues) to back-of-house stage manager (cuing musical acts to go onstage). However, Tarascio took it as an insult, sulked about the move, and was eventually replaced by someone who filled in for him, and now everyone at “Late Night” is happier without him. Which isn’t to say he’s a bad guy; he just wasn’t a good fit in that environment.
The problem is that someone was stupid enough to actually tell Tarascio, “Jimmy would rather take cues from a woman.” Because, well, DUH. Not legal in the 21st century. However, the fact that this is an EEOC complaint and not a civil suit is a sign of how weak Tarascio’s case is. His best hope is that Fallon gives him a settlement to make this go away.