President Donald Trump on Sunday attacked Jimmy Fallon over the Tonight Show host's recent comments, during a Hollywood Reporter "Awards Chatter" podcast episode, in which Fallon became choked up talking about the grief he got after tussling Trump's hair on his show.
Trump wrote on Twitter: ".@jimmyfallon is now whimpering to all that he did the famous 'hair show' with me (where he seriously messed up my hair), & that he would have now done it differently because it is said to have 'humanized' me-he is taking heat. He called & said 'monster ratings.' Be a man Jimmy!"
In response, Fallon tweeted later Sunday night that he was going to donate to RAICES — the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services — in "honor of the President's tweet."
The hair-tussling incident occurred during a Sept. 15, 2016, episode of NBC's The Tonight Show, after Trump had become the Republican presidential nominee but two months before he was unexpectedly elected president. During the taping, Fallon asked for and ws granted permission to "mess up" Trump's hair, which has been the source of mockery and curiosity over the years. Fallon was instantly attacked over the move.
"I did not do it to 'normalize' him or to say I believe in his political beliefs or any of that stuff," Fallon told THR's Scott Feinberg during the June 19, 2018, podcast. Fallon said that the criticism that he faced "just got bigger and out of control. I saw other comedians from other shows making fun of me on Twitter and I go, 'OK, now I'm just gonna get off.' They know the show. I'm just doing five hours a week. I get in at 10 in the morning, I work 'til seven at night and I'm just trying to make a funny show. [Addressing them:] 'You know the grind and you know me. Of all the people in the world, I'm one of the good people — I mean, really. You don't even know what you're talking about if you say that I'm evil or whatever.' But people just jump on the train, and some people don't even want to hear anything else. They're like, 'No, you did that!' You go, 'Well, just calm down and just look at the whole thing and actually see my body of work.'"
Fallon also emotionally spoke of the toll that the period took on him and his Tonight Show colleagues. "It was definitely a down time," he said. "And it's tough for morale. There's 300 people that work here, and so when people are talking that bad about you and ganging up on you, in a really gang-mentality..." Choking up, he continued: "You go, 'Alright, we get it. I heard you. You made me feel bad. So now what? Are you happy? I'm depressed. Do you want to push me more? What do you want me to do? You want me to kill myself? What would make you happy? Get over it.'"
Added Fallon: "I'm sorry. I don't want to make anyone angry — I never do and I never will. It's all in the fun of the show. I made a mistake. I'm sorry if I made anyone mad. And, looking back, I would do it differently."
Since Trump assumed office in January 2017, Fallon's show has lost more than one-fifth of its audience and been passed in the ratings by Stephen Colbert. Last year, Colbert and the third 11:30 p.m. host of a late-night network show, Jimmy Kimmel, received Emmy nominations for best variety talk series, but Fallon, for the first time in years, did not.
Updated 7:52 p.m. Sunday, June 24: Added Fallon's tweet.