Steve Harvey Responds to Controversial Staff Memo: ‘I Don’t Apologize About the Letter’

Steve Harvey Memo
DELA PENA/EPA/REX/Shutterstock

In the wake of his controversial staff memo being leaked to the media, Steve Harvey is defending himself for the shocking letter in which he wrote to his employees, “Do not approach me while I’m in the makeup chair unless I ask to speak with you directly.”

Yesterday, a harsh memo surfaced, which Variety confirmed was authentic with sources saying the note was leaked to the press by a former staffer of the “Steve Harvey” show. The letter was originally sent from the host to his staff at the beginning of the fifth season of his daytime talk show in Chicago last year. This fall, Harvey’s revamped syndicated series will tape in Los Angeles with a largely new team.

In response to the backlash, Harvey spoke with Entertainment Tonight today to further explain his memo — and he’s not apologizing.


Steve Harvey memo staff

Steve Harvey’s Shocking Memo to Talk Show Staff Surfaces: ‘Do Not Approach Me’

“I could not find a way to walk from the stage to my dressing room, to sit in my makeup chair, to walk from my dressing room to the stage or to just sit and have lunch without somebody just walking in,” he told ET. “I’ve always had a policy where, you know, you can come and talk to me — so many people are great around here, but some of them just started taking advantage of it.”

He continued, “I’m in my makeup chair, they walk in the room. I’m having lunch, they walk in, they don’t knock. I’m in the hallway, I’m getting ambushed by people with friends that come to the show and having me sign this and do this. I just said, ‘Wait a minute.’ And in hindsight, I probably should’ve handled it a little bit differently.”

While recognizing that he perhaps should he dealt with the situation in a different manner, Harvey — who also hosts NBC’s “Little Big Shots” and ABC’s “Family Feud — explained that he was “asking everyone to simply honor and respect” his privacy.

“If you come out your house, you don’t want anybody on your porch waiting on you. You walk to your car, you don’t want people bothering you on your way to your car. Everybody wants the freedom to be able to move around,” he said. “I just didn’t want to be in this prison anymore where I had to be in this little room, scared to go out and take a breath of fresh air without somebody approaching me, so I wrote the letter.”

“I don’t apologize about the letter, but it’s kind of crazy what people who took this thing and ran, man.”

Drop a comment below: What do you think about Steve Harvey’s letter to his staff? 

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  1. CZgator says:

    We can all learn from this example. If he had started with “Please…” and ended with “Thank you!” no one would have taken offense at this memo, which was intended for staff members who did not respect his privacy, nor did they have any loyalty. They are lucky he did not sue them for leaking corporate communications. Employees in the entertainment industry usually have to sign nondisclosure agreements.

  2. Terri Davenport says:

    Good evening, this is in response to the memo that Steve Harvey wrote to his staff: First of all they are his staff and should realize that Mr. Harvey is a realist he’s not out to hurt anyone he’s just being real…Secondly, famous or not everyone deserves some space in their life…and lastly I don’t blame him for not wanting to apologize, he could’ve said something worst!! Stay blessed in all that you do…

  3. Chris Brown says:

    Lock the door, only to open it for who u want to speak to, what was so wrong about this

  4. NatalieEdwards says:

    That’s what personal assistants are for.
    He/she is should be outside his door, office or space he works at, stop anyone without prior Appointment on his Daily Agenda List.
    He has a PR person. Relate that.

    I want my $$ Steve for this great advice.

  5. Janis says:

    That was not smart to send a memo that made him look like a jerk. Get over yourself Mr. Harvey you are a comedian not a brain surgeon. You are an entertainer.

    • Francesco says:

      Steve Harvey is boss. Staff and golfers
      Get over it just be happy u have a job
      Get coffee shut up

  6. Beth Pulliam says:

    Mr. Harvey should be allowed to have a moment of peace. I’m an elementary school teacher and understand how my precious little students are on me every second. I adore them, but I have to remind them that I need two seconds and ten inches of my own. I am human; he is human. It’s ok to need space. Rather a direct memo or a “blow” up due to frustration? Relax people, we are all human.

    • Susan lee says:

      He obviously needed better staff or better communication with his staff and the right staff to help keep people out of his face because he became more popular didn’t make him a God. I always thought he was cool and still do but man be up fromt with people. Everyone needs their space. Get it together. Don’t just write a damn letter. Make it work and be kind. Get your staff together and have a meeting of what you want and what you don’t want. Speak it , not write it like your a God. Write it like the cool person I thought you were.

      • Bernie says:

        I totally agree with you , he should have a proper meeting , I don’t believe in ignorance.. I like Mr Harvey I think he is a funny guy ! But I’m sorry for his staff as no body should be afraid of there boss .
        Am glad am not the kind of woman that adores celebrities , ” they are not God , so they can walk in front of me and I won’t be bother .

  7. Valerie Abraham says:

    Everyone else has security that prohibits people from approaching them at any given moment, you deserve your privacy as well. I am a very private person who does not like pop-up visits and just because you are famous, you are entitled to the same respect. Its unfortunate the few people that were respectful will be grouped in that category because of a small minority that were inconsiderate.

  8. eileen apple says:

    Good for you, speak up. You have the same right to privacy as everyone else.

  9. Christine McGill says:

    Boundaries are good. It’s his right!

  10. Dave says:

    He is on the mark. However, he should have been telling the perpetrators that they were not welcome to just drop in. He should set his policy for those people with no self-control. Most celebs don’t have to do it this way. Why him?
    If you see a celeb out in public most of us do not approach them out of respect for their personal space. They are people too.
    In a celeb business sense that’s what conf mtgs are for.

  11. Brenda Roberson says:

    The memo is very understanding. We as people reading from the outside believe that his memo was rule. It may have been, but he needs respect, understanding, support,and privacy just like me and you. If the rolls were reversed you probably would have said it worst then they. God ask for privacy.

  12. Cynlue says:

    The whole incident shows Steve needs to slow
    down, take a good look at his programs to see
    what needs to be eliminated. He is over the edge. What good is it if his outbursts mock
    his brand of compassion.

    I am a huge fan and o,my want whats best for
    him. Steve has pushed himself beyond human
    limits…..”What good is it if you gain the whole
    world and loose your soul.” ( family, good name)

  13. Tigger says:

    As a Host of several shows, Harvey needs an immediate lesson in English.

  14. Jackie Rucker says:

    I know how he feels. We all need privacy and respect. Good move Steve

  15. Tammie Clark says:

    I think that Mr. Harvey should have a right to expect his privacy.The fact that someone was offended enough to leak the memo showed inmaturity,& rejection.
    Would I say what was ask of his​ staff to much to RESPECT ? No their job is to do what they are hired to do, plain and simple.

  16. c says:

    get over yourself

  17. Steve you are millionaire because of the people you work and people who watch all of you shows. You should found a better to express yourself if you felt overwhelmed.

  18. Francesco says:

    I am sorry. When your a celebrity your in control
    You tell your staff this is the rules
    You don’t like it. Good bye
    You leave

    I am a producer with Warner bros
    And I do the same don’t bother me
    Il call You when needed
    Mind you I have my close entourage
    They are my close team
    They come go as they please
    Cause they are my Bros
    But everyone else on staff. Contact my assistant if u need to see me or talk to me
    That’s how u do it steve Harvey :)
    Remember we are running a business here.
    Not a charity organization
    Tell your staff your not here for free. Your getting paid to do your job for me
    Not for yourself. So stop your whining or it’s the door :))
    These regular people have to understand this
    Cause I get this alot too . And now I am working on my chic tv series
    I have to make the rules much more clearly
    So steve tighten the ropes
    This is show business not charity

  19. davidztaylor says:

    I’m sorry- but when you agree to be a celebrity- there are certain things you have to deal with. One of them is a lack of privacy. You are well compensated for your status so really, shut up, suck it up and deal with it. If it’s more than you want- then the answer is super simple. Take your millions of dollars and go away. Just go away.

  20. rman56 says:

    Hey Steve, you don’t have a policy, written or unspoken, for five years and then change that policy in a nasty and mean sounding memo. Get a clue. It’s called simple human respect, nothing more, nothing less. Of course, you’re entitled to do it any way you feel. Fortunately I have the right to start surfing the cable TV highway and there 99% chance I’ll find a place to stop if not just turn the TV off for an hour.

  21. Osiris Munir says:

    He should be a mom who works tirelessly without earning a penny, gets interrupted all of the time by boyfriends, husbands, kids and pets and who has never asked for any privacy except to be able to sleep in peace.

    Rather than direct his frustration to an entire staff he could have easily addressed the culprits.

    Steve has assistants and management, they should filter the crowd. I’m sure that when he is being Steve Harvey, the persona, that like all entertainers he places high demands on his staff. Hopefully they don’t ask him to stop calling them when he needs something etc.

    Both sides of the artist and those who serve the artist should be accounted for.

  22. Joni Blizzard says:

    I totally understand. I am not a famous or on a talk show; but my job requires me to be exposed to a lot of people trying to partner with my company. They will catch in the bathroom, eating, or just sitting trying to breath– they ask for a business card, a meeting, etc. which is so overwhelming. So, good for you Steve!

  23. Kamilah Tajiddin says:

    I understand why he responded that way. Some people impose and take advantage of your kindness and impose on you.

  24. Jay Cee says:

    Sharlene, you sound ridiculous. Steve is right. How would you like being accosted at anytime, any minute of your day by possibly 100 people who feel like barging in on you whenever they feel like it? You don’t even let your chilldren do that. Get real. Shame on you for being so judgemental, righteous, and limited thinking.

  25. just like a coward, throw the bone then run. Steve Harvey should be ashamed of hisself. Shame on you Steve, shame, shame, shame

  26. Gina Gould says:

    Just wait until no one wants his autograph or time…..coming soon I think.

  27. Everyone is beating up on Mr. Harvey and that is wrong, wrong, wrong! He wrote a memo to staff defining limiting interactions during his day. He did not leak that memo; someone in the staff did. It was disrespectful and mean. It was meant to damage Mr. Harvey. Mr. Harvey knows that now. Someone on the staff is unethical and was determined to damage Mr. Harvey.

  28. Dan says:

    I think Mr Harvey was totally right in what he said, his memo was right on target.

  29. Colleen Manz says:

    He sounds like someone that is overworked and tired. But have you noticed his nice suits & shoes? Maybe he should wear shirt and slacks and sandles, and stay home more! I like him, but I do get sick of seeing him on and in everything.

  30. A dana says:

    I think the name of the show is Steve Harvey. Those who have a problem with the memo,,go get another job. Steve do ya thang big bra!!!

  31. Kekuda says:

    Is this the response Steve would have wanted after stepping to another celebrity after having spent the night sleeping in his car as he did? Come on Steve…; Seems status has gone to your head and you’ve forgotten what it means to be a ‘fo sho’ brother as you always claimed to be. You could have handled this in a more subtle and respectful manner. The memo reeks of arrogance and pig-headedness… So all of a sudden you’ve arrived and forgotten that the one chance that person could have to throw you an idea would change their life and that of tens of people… What if after your snob they walked back to their car with their heads hung low to spend the night? Come on Steve… Smh

    • Smh….I hopefully guess this means “show or share more heart”. I think Mr. Harvey does both. There are physical and mental limits though. He can’t fix everyone’s life that makes a “pitch” in the dressing room, make up room, or hallway!

  32. Boo Boo Kitty says:

    Steve harvey is right. People need to grow up and read a book for a change. This world and those complaining about this are so whack!!!

  33. willie says:

    I don’t blame him a person can only take so much , just like anyone else he’s just asking for respect as a human being , I’m glad he memo his people vs lash out at a fan or a kid. ya know ? my respect Steve . GOD BLESS YOU .

  34. Fordfracture says:

    Well if you can’t handle the pressure I think it time to take a step back and maybe walk away ? you singed up for this and you’d have had to see this coming ? Or this is all staged or maybe a cry for help ! Steve do they have you captive !!! do we need to bust you out bro !

  35. Does no one remember that Steve Harvey cheated on his wife and then left her for the woman he was cheating with??? He has always been a sham and a hustler.

  36. All the people attacking him for this, lol. He’s not only celeb you may adore who does this. Not watching him because over this is just stupid. It’s easy to say “Oh, I’d be open to anyone.” when you don’t have to deal with it. I’d be willing to bet this is also somewhat temporary. I’m sure he’ll allow trusted people to approach him when they prove they won’t do some like bring in starstruck friends, which is unprofessional on their part.

  37. Penny Boyd says:

    Obviously his staff was out of control and needed the memo! People need to learn to respect boundaries!!! Good for you Steve Harvey!

  38. There is not an introvert in the world who thought that letter was was harsh. LOL….I guess this is a matter of perspective.

  39. Bridget says:

    I’m with Steve on this. People need to learn boundaries. I can’t stand it when people over step with me. Staff and fans alike tend to overstep. And people who are taking this personal, you will soon realize why he is the way he is God/Karma/Universe tends to turn and show you why things are the way they are. And if people notice, it was shared by a FORMER staff member..which means someone was bitter for having to leave/being fired! And who holds on to shit like that? Sounds like a Monica Lewinsky situation.

    • Olivia L Bravo says:

      I agree with Steve. He has probably asked people to respect his privacy before but they did not so he put his foot down. Good for him.

  40. Mike says:

    I agree with Steve. Sometimes someone in an authority figure has to be stern to get their Point across. Celebrity or not.

  41. Maxine james says:

    he’s absolutely right.!!he’s just asking for a little me time and privacy is that so bad….

  42. Jan says:

    I will no longer be watching him, he has turned into a snob

  43. Kim Stephens says:

    Hi… Steve Harvey didn’t feel that way when he was just a comedian trying to make it. I think he could’ve handled it a different way and it was very rude & calculated. I will no longer be watching his show. Me and my mother used to be big fans! He should think back when he was sleeping in his car!

  44. Kim Stephens says:

    Hi… Steve Harvey didn’t feel that way when he was just a comedian trying to make it. I think he could’ve handled it a different way and it was very rude & calculated. I will no longer be watching his show. Me and my mother used to be big fans!

  45. L. Jones says:

    I don’t find anything wrong with his requests. People need to understand boundaries.

  46. Maryanne Arbutus says:

    everyone has to set up boundaries.. I’m retired and I have them.. You must recharge to give to others and if they don’t like it… TOUGH.. I’m with you Steve.. 100%.. People will suck the life out of you if you let them.. The sad thing is a lot of people don’t realize it.. That’s why we have to teach them.. You get what you ask for 😊

  47. Dr.T says:

    Good for him, people don’t realize how unnerving it is to be constantly pimped by everyone who knows who you are. I couldn’t attend a family get together or social function without 3 – 5 people approaching me with medical questions. I would politely explain to them that this was my time off and could they please give me a break so I could relax but they would ignore my request and proceed to barrage me with their questions

  48. Mr. Harvey has always seemed very approachable but at times he can be very “celebrity rude” even when fans approach him. This was his choice of life’s work and it is very lucrative. He has been well compensated for his talents.
    May be it is time for him to loosen his hold on the number of shows & appearances that appear to monopolize his life. “You cannot serve two masters.”

  49. Ralph Davis says:

    I’ve worked with Steve on several shows in the past and found him to be quite accommodating to people. Sounds like he just got tired of it constantly interrupting his pace, nothing wrong with regulating your space. He probably could have handled it more diplomatically but I think he’s entitled. He’s quite a bit more successful and popular now and more people want a piece of him in some way or another.

  50. David says:

    He has nothing to apologize for. Shame on Variety for publishing such blatant clickbait.

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