Following news that Jeff Garlin has departed ABC’s The Goldbergs effective immediately, a new report is shining light on the inappropriate workplace behavior that led to his exit, as well as how the long-running sitcom intends to complete his remaining scenes for Season 9 without him.
As previously reported, Garlin and Sony Pictures Television reached a mutual agreement on Dec. 15 that called for the comedian’s departure. According to Deadline, Garlin was supposed to be on set Monday to film his last scenes but declined a mandated COVID test required to be on set. The show then opted to use a body double instead, and will superimpose Garlin’s face in post-production — a practice that supposedly has already been employed “a number of times” for Garlin for “various reasons.”
It remains unclear how Murray Goldberg’s absence will be addressed, but it’s worth noting that The Goldbergs initially had an 18-episode order for Season 9. Upon word of Garlin’s exit, Deadline is reporting that ABC has ordered four additional episodes, bringing Season 9’s total haul to 22 half-hours.
The abrupt nature of Garlin’s exit stemmed from a human resources investigation into multiple complaints about lewd language and unwarranted touching. According to one staffer, who spoke to Deadline on condition of anonymity over fear of retribution, Garlin was “extremely verbally and emotionally abusive.” Case in point: After Garlin found out that a camera assistant complained to HR about his repeated use of the word “vagina” on set, the actor reportedly approached the assistant, “placed his hands around her and kept saying ‘vagina’ in her face over and over again.”
Another alleged incident, as recalled by another unnamed eyewitness, involved Garlin berating a female stand-in and telling her to “get the f–k out of my way.” Garlin then turned to the woman’s husband, who is also a staffer on The Goldbergs, and said, “Tell your wife to get the f—k out of my way.”
Since that incident, which occurred two months ago, Garlin had only been on set a couple of times, having previously reached an arrangement to shoot his scenes over as few days as possible, according to Vanity Fair. Sources told Deadline that Garlin’s behavior had not changed, and he continued to mock HR guidelines during production.
The Curb Your Enthusiasm star previously gave a lengthy interview to VF‘s Maureen Ryan, who was investigating an alleged pattern of “verbal and physical conduct on set that made people uncomfortable.” Garlin told Ryan that HR had come to him three years in a row to discuss his behavior after staffers on the ABC sitcom complained about inappropriate language and unwarranted touching.
“It’s always the same thing,” Garlin said at the time. “It’s about me and my silliness on set. They don’t think it’s appropriate. I do. That’s where we’re at. I’ve not been fired because of it. We just think differently.”
Asked about staffers who felt “demeaned and disrespected,” Garlin responded, “[A]s a comedian, if somebody is offended by what I say, all I can say is, I’m sorry. Okay? I have never physically come at anyone, for any reason, so that I find terribly confusing and untrue.”