STUDIO CITY (CBSLA) — It’s an episode of his late night show Jimmy Fallon would rather soon forget, but the show in which he played with then-candidate Donald Trump’s hair is still weighing on the TV host, and the president is annoyed about it.
Last week, Fallon revealed in an episode of The Hollywood Reporter’s podcast “Awards Season” that the September 16, 2016 gag with Trump and subsequent media backlash changed his life.
“People are just very upset and angry […] if the candidate didn’t win,” Fallon told THR’s Scott Feinberg. “If they really don’t like the other person, they really don’t like anything they’re involved in.”
Fallon and his network NBC received blowback from viewers and people online, criticizing the SNL alum “for his willingness to serve as hell’s court jester” and for “humanizing a xenophobe,” to list just a few reactions.
Fallon defended himself against just that.
“I did not do it to normalize him or to say I believe in his political beliefs or any of that stuff,” Fallon said.
“I don’t do that with any guest, with anyone.[…] I just had him on as a guest, and so he was already the candidate, and he was Donald Trump already. He was the Republican candidate, and I had the Democratic candidate on the next night, and I touched her hair, as well, and I gave her a bit. So I didn’t mean to make anyone angry, and I knew it’d be big ’cause I touched his hair. I think a lot of people, what they were talking about at the time was his hair, ‘The hair, the hair, the hair.’ […] I saw, like, other comedians from other shows making fun of me on Twitter, and I go, ‘OK, now I’m just gonna get off.[…]”
He added that the comments were hurtful to him and “tough for morale” at the show.
“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,” Fallon said, choking up, “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.'”
This might’ve been the remark that triggered the president, though he’s proven it doesn’t take much for him to take Twitter retribution.
The president tweeted the following Sunday evening:
“[Jimmy Fallon] 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!”
About three hours later, Fallon tweeted that in response to the president’s tweet, he was donating to the advocacy group Refugee and Immigrant Center For Education and Legal Services or RAICES. The group has been at forefront of the fight to reunite detained undocumented immigrant families in the wake of Trump’s zero tolerance policy at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Fallon did not disclose the amount of money he would be donating.
According to RAICES’ fundraising campaign started on June 16, after revelations of the family separations were made public, the group has raised over $20 million of their $25 million goal as of Sunday.
Deadline Hollywood reported RAICES had already received donations from writers, producers and cast members of several hit shows, including “One Day At A Time,” “Vida,” “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Queen Sugar,” among others.
The president had not responded to Fallon as of Sunday evening.