ABC’s long-running comedy The Goldbergs lost a series regular when George Segal died earlier this year. Now another original star who plays a member of the Goldbergs clan, Jeff Garlin, is departing following multiple misconduct allegations and HR investigations.
According to sources, a mutual agreement was reached today that Garlin will not be returning to the show. His exit is effective immediately. Reps for Sony Pictures Television, which produces the comedy, had no comment.
Garlin was believed to have had one more day of shooting left from the original 18-episode Season 9 order after his schedule had been reduced. No decision has been made yet on a potential 10th season of The Goldbergs, which remains one of ABC’s strongest comedy series.
The veteran comedian addressed some of the accusations and confirmed that he had been the subject of HR probes in an extensive interview with Vanity Fair‘s Maureen Ryan this month, in which he also denied speculation that he has been fired from the show.
Following the VF interview, Deadline was contacted by a number of current and former co-workers of Garlin. Speaking on condition of anonymity over fear of retribution, they spoke of a great work environment on the show, which would change dramatically on the days Garlin is on set.
“He is extremely verbally and emotionally abusive,” a Goldbergs employee told Deadline.
In his VF interview, Garlin dismissed accusations of being verbally offensive by saying that he is just being “silly” as part of his shtick as a comedian. He did note his penchant for dropping the word “vagina” on the set.
According to a source on the show, a camera assistant made a complaint to her department head about Garlin’s use of the word. After the actor found out, he reportedly put his hands around her and kept saying “vagina” in her face over and over again. Overall, Garlin’s go-to jokes that a number of people on the show found offensive were talking about grandma’s vagina, balls and brassier, a co-worker said. Additionally, he would not address some longtime female crew members by name, using instead nicknames that some also considered offensive.
The VF interview addresses an incident involving Garlin and two longtime stand-ins on the show, a married couple who are beloved by the cast and crew.
Garlin referred to it as “a joke that was completely missed — because I like this guy. I like his wife. I’ve worked with them for years.”
According to an eyewitness of the incident, Garlin did not appear to be joking as he walked behind the female stand-in. “He screamed at her, ‘Why are you always in my way? Get the f*ck 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.” Garlin then turned to the woman’s husband, saying, “Tell your wife to get the f*ck out of my way.”
According to sources, cast and crew were appalled, and “this was the straw that broke the camel’s back” in terms of their tolerance for Garlin’s antics, leading to new HR complaints.
“Not just would he intimidate that woman, he would then turn around and belittle and embarrass her husband,” the witness said. “This is just the grossest abuse of power.”
Since that incident, which happened about two months ago, Garlin has only been in a couple of times, sources said. They indicated that his behavior had not changed, and he mocked the guidelines he had been given by HR.
UPDATE: As of precursor of what was to come, I hear Garlin canceled his Covid test on Monday this week. According to sources, the show used his double for what was supposed to be the actor’s last day, and his face will be superimposed using CGI in post-production for the episode, designed to wrap his character’s storyline. (That is practice used a number of times for Garlin in the past for various reasons, I hear.)
According to eyewitnesses, executives came to the set last night to congratulate The Goldbergs cast and crew on the show’s 200th episode and address “the elephant in the room,” revealing Garlin’s exit.
“It feels a little surreal that he will never be here again but the mood on the set is ecstatic,” one person said. “In fact several people cheered when the execs said that Jeff would not be returning.”
Additionally, I hear The Goldbergs has received an additional four-episode order, bringing its ninth season to 22 episodes.
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