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COVID-19 cases are still on the rise and, as a result, talk shows have switched up the way they operate. After many programs opted for remote episodes for the majority of the year, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon became the first show to return to the studio, albeit with safety measures in place to protect the host and crew. While these safety measures appear to be mostly effective, they don’t necessarily guarantee the safety of employees. Now, crew members of Tamron Hall are claiming they’re being put in a dangerous situation, as they continue to work on the show.
Members of Tamron Hall’s crew allege that they’ve been exposed to COVID-19 on multiple occasions following two production shutdowns. They allege that this is due to less than sufficient safety protocols:
They’re seriously putting lives in danger. They do segments on COVID and how people lost loved ones and family members, but they’re not practicing what they’re preaching.
The employees also alleged to BuzzFeed News that on October 28, an executive producer alerted staff via email that several crew members had tested positive for COVID-19 and that anyone who “may have had close contact with these individuals” was advised to remain home. However, the employees claim they showed up to work, despite some staff members being called and told not to. And as they worked a few more hours, rumors reportedly began to spread, and the day ended early when Hall reportedly told them to go home.
Filming eventually resumed, but another email was eventually sent out on November 18. This message allegedly stated that more crew members had tested positive but that “we will continue to follow our established testing, PPE and social distancing protocols including deep cleaning every area of our production where the staff member worked, as well as deep cleaning all community spaces.” An anonymous employee told BuzzFeed that they were disappointed that the show opted against “playing it safe” and decided to move forward with production:
Instead of playing it safe and telling everyone not to come in, they told us all to come in because it was more important for them to get that show in the can than to be upfront with us. It felt really shady, and it felt like we weren’t working for human beings. It felt like we were working for robots who just wanted to get the show on the air.
ABC, which produces Tamron Hall, has since released a statement, saying that the company “followed company protocols, state and local guidance, and CDC guidelines and had all positive cases isolate at home and any employee identified through contact tracing quarantine at home for 14 days.” ABC also states that the well-being of its employees is “paramount” during this time:
As our staff’s health and safety is paramount, and out of an abundance of caution, the show aired repeats and subsequently operated from a temporary studio with limited staff.
Employees also say that not every employee was tested on regular basis, as only those who work directly with Hall were. They also say they’ve been given conflicting information from the show’s designated safety manager and others. As a result, one crew member said they don’t feel like the show cares about its employees:
Producers are trying to do their jobs, and they don’t care what it takes as long as there’s a show on the air. We feel like we’re scum, like they don’t really give a shit about us.
As for Tamron Hall, employees are currently hoping that a “third-party person” will be brought in to help manage the COVID cases. Keep it here at CinemaBlend for more updates on this story and for more news from the world of TV and movies.