TV host Steve Harvey defended a controversial memo he sent to his staff this week in a phone interview with ET Online’s Desiree Murphy.
The memo drew fire due to its hostile and hyper-controlling tone. Harvey ordered staff not to approach or address him. Anyone who opens his dressing room door, he warned, will be immediately fired.
“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,” the “Family Feud” host told ET Online. “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.”
“Look man,” he went on, “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.”
Harvey — who wrote the relationship advice book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, which urges women to be less romantic and more mercenary and practical in their relationships — said that he just wants to establish a workplace where his privacy is respected.
“If you come out your house, you don’t want anybody on your porch waiting on you,” he said. “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.”
“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,” said Harvey. “I don’t apologize about the letter, but it’s kind of crazy what people who took this thing and ran, man. I appreciate you asking me.”