In the wake of his controversial staff memo being leaked to the media, Steve Harvey is defending himself for the shocking letter in which he wrote to his employees, “Do not approach me while I’m in the makeup chair unless I ask to speak with you directly.”
On Wednesday, a harsh memo surfaced, which Variety confirmed was authentic, with sources saying the note was leaked to the press by a former staffer on “The Steve Harvey Show.” The letter was originally sent from the host to his staff at the beginning of the fifth season of his daytime talk show in Chicago last year. This fall, Harvey’s revamped syndicated series will tape in Los Angeles with a largely new team.
In response to the backlash, Harvey spoke with “Entertainment Tonight” on Thursday to further explain his memo — and he’s not apologizing.
“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.” “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 continued, “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.”
While recognizing that he perhaps should have dealt with the situation in a different manner, Harvey — who also hosts NBC’s “Little Big Shots” and ABC’s “Family Feud — explained that he was “asking everyone to simply honor and respect” his privacy.
“If you come out your house, you don’t want anybody on your porch waiting on you. 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,” he said. “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.”