*Amid backlash surrounding a leaked memo in which Steve Harvey demanded of his former Chicago staff not to be approached, the host tried to explain his diva tone to “Entertainment Tonight,” saying the employees of his daytime talk show never respected his boundaries.
“I could not find a way to walk from the stage to my dressing room, to sit in my makeup chair, to walk from my dressing room to the stage or to just sit and have lunch without somebody just walking in,” he told ET’s Kevin Frazier via phone on Thursday. “I’ve always had a policy where, you know, you can come and talk to me — so many people are great around here, but some of them just started taking advantage of it.”
He added, “Look, man, I’m in my makeup chair, they walk in the room. I’m having lunch, they walk in, they don’t knock. I’m in the hallway, I’m getting ambushed by people with friends that come to the show and having me sign this and do this. I just said, ‘Wait a minute.’ And in hindsight, I probably should’ve handled it a little bit differently.”
As previously reported, Chicago blogger Robert Feder on Wednesday published an email sent by Harvey to employees before the start of his talk show’s fifth season.
“There will be no meetings in my dressing room. No stopping by or popping in. NO ONE,” read the email. “Do not come to my dressing room unless invited. Do not open my dressing room door. IF YOU OPEN MY DOOR, EXPECT TO BE REMOVED.”
The email also demanded “all the ambushing to stop now,” that employees “schedule an appointment” to speak with Harvey, and that people not approach him unless he asks “to speak with you directly.”
Harvey told ET that he had reached his breaking point when he penned the memo.
“If you come out your house, you don’t want anybody on your porch waiting on you,” he told ET. “You walk to your car, you don’t want people bothering you on your way to your car. Everybody wants the freedom to be able to move around. I just didn’t want to be in this prison anymore where I had to be in this little room, scared to go out and take a breath of fresh air without somebody approaching me, so I wrote the letter. I don’t apologize about the letter, but it’s kind of crazy what people who took this thing and ran, man. I appreciate you asking me.”
Harvey’s new Los Angeles-based syndicated talk show, “Steve,” debuts September 5.