Jeff Garlin is exiting the long-running sitcom The Goldbergs following multiple HR investigations into his on-set behavior. The 59-year-old comedian has been accused of creating a hostile and demeaning work environment, with one anonymous source saying, “He is extremely verbally and emotionally abusive.”
Deadline reports that the decision is mutual, and that he will stay long enough to wrap his final scenes of Season Nine. The Goldbergs is one of ABC’s highest-rated comedy series, and no decision has been made about Season 10.
Garlin addressed the complaints against him in an interview with Vanity Fair two weeks ago, acknowledging that he’d been the subject of HR investigations for three consecutive years. “I have my process about how I’m funny, in terms of the scene and what I have to do,” he said. “They feel that it makes for a quote ‘unsafe’ workspace. Now, mind you, my silliness making an unsafe workspace — I don’t understand how that is.”
He added, “I am sorry to tell you that there really is no big story. Unless you want to do a story about political correctness.”
One of the HR investigations involved an incident with two of the show’s stand-ins, a married couple. Garlin described the interaction as “a joke that was completely missed — because I like this guy. I like his wife. I’ve worked with them for years.”
However, according to an eyewitness, “He screamed at her, ‘Why are you always in my way? Get the fuck out of my way,’ as she was walking down the ramp on the set after they had done blocking for a scene. She was confused and looked around.” According to the source, Garlin then turned to the woman’s husband and said, “Tell your wife to get the fuck out of my way.”
“Not just would he intimidate that woman,” the witness said, “He would then turn around and belittle and embarrass her husband. This is just the grossest abuse of power.”
Garlin has also been criticized for his frequent use of the word ‘vagina.’ He told Vanity Fair, “I would go, ‘Oh, my vagina.’ And that’s just me being,, in my eyes, silly.”
Sources described being offended at frequent jokes involving grandmas — grandma’s vaginas, grandma’s balls, and grandma’s bras. After a camera assistant complained about these references, Garlin reportedly approached the woman, put his arms around her, and repeated the word ‘vagina’ over and over again. He would also allegedly refer to several female crew members by nicknames instead of their real names, which some found demeaning.
Garlin’s role on The Goldbergs was reduced for Season Nine, which spans 18 episodes. He remains an actor and executive producer on HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, which began airing Season 11 in October, and he is currently on the road for his Use Me stand-up tour, with proceeds benefitting comedy clubs affected by the pandemic.