Maureen Ryan's 'Burn It Down' details the circumstances leading up to Garlin's abrupt 2021 exit from 'The Goldbergs,' as well as complaints and a settlement from his time on 'Curb Your Enthusiasm’
Jeff Garlin’s onscreen delivery in The Goldbergs and Curb Your Enthusiasm may have elicited laughter, but his alleged troublesome behavior behind the scenes made working on the set challenging for crew members.
According to Maureen Ryan’s new book, Burn It Down: Power, Complicity, and a Call for Change in Hollywood, the actor’s “disrespectful” and “disparaging” behavior towards nearly everyone on the set of The Goldbergs” was allowed to run unchecked by showrunner Adam F. Goldberg.
“It was a big boys club of men who were probably always kind of the dorks in high school that got picked on, then all of a sudden, they had this power,” an insider told Ryan, referring to Garlin, Goldberg and other high-powered men on the show.
Another insider claimed that Garlin, 61, wielded his "power and status to intimidate and demean everyone on this crew."
The actor's behavior — which several insiders described as “harassing, disparaging or physically problematic,” but which Garlin himself played down as just “joking” — led to the actor being investigated at least three times by HR while working on the show.
While Garlin previously told Vanity Fair in 2021 he was not fired from The Goldbergs, his exit from the ABC sitcom in the middle of season 9 indicated his departure was sudden and unexpected.
“And that it finally happened it was like, ‘OK, OK. Finally someone is listening to us,'” McLendon-Covey recalled.
Reps for Garlin, David and HBO did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment. ABC declined to comment.
On the set of Curb Your Enthusiasm, where Garlin played Larry David’s best friend Jeff Greene, his behavior reportedly proved no better.
Several insiders said Garlin used “demeaning, graphic, sexual language” on set, which spurred HBO to investigate his actions several times, with one insider indicating that there was at least one legal settlement with a former Curb Your Enthusiasm employee stemming from the actor's behavior.
But Garlin has previously denied this, telling Vanity Fair in 2021: "My opinion is, I have my process about how I'm funny in terms of the scene and what I have to do."
"They feel that it makes for a quote 'unsafe' workplace. Now, mind you, my silliness making an unsafe workplace — I don't understand how that is," he said. "I am always a kind and thoughtful person. I make mistakes, sure. But my comedy is about easing people's pain. Why would I ever want to cause pain in anybody for a laugh? That's bullying. That's just uncalled for."
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Burn It Down: Power, Complicity, and a Call for Change in Hollywood is available now.
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