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Steve Harvey to staff: Do not approach me

Posted: 5:20 PM, May 11, 2017
Updated: 2017-05-11 23:20:12Z

Months after Steve Harvey made controversial comments involving Asian men, a memo leaked on Wednesday from Harvey's talk show staff asks his employees not to talk to him, as Harvey begs his staff for privacy. 

In the memo, Harvey tells staffers only to talk to him if he initiates the conversation.

After social media erupted on Harvey's memo, he told Entertainment Tonight on Thursday  that he was doing so in the name of privacy. 

“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.

“Look man, I’m in my makeup chair, they walk in the room,” he continued. “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 said that his interactions with staff made him feel imprisoned. 

“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,” he said to Entertainment Tonight. “I don’t apologize about the letter, but it’s kind of crazy what people who took this thing and ran."

In January, Harvey came under fire for a skit about a fake self-help book titled "How to Date a White Woman: A Practical Guide for Asian Men."

The memo was initially leaked to Robert Feder’s Chicago media blog. 

After five seasons of Harvey's show being taped in Chicago, it will be moved to Los Angeles for the start of the program's sixth season later this year.

Here is the full memo:

Good morning, everyone. Welcome back.

I’d like you all to review and adhere to the following notes and rules for Season 5 of my talk show.

There will be no meetings in my dressing room. No stopping by or popping in. NO ONE.

Do not come to my dressing room unless invited.

Do not open my dressing room door. IF YOU OPEN MY DOOR, EXPECT TO BE REMOVED.

My security team will stop everyone from standing at my door who have the intent to see or speak to me.

I want all the ambushing to stop now. That includes TV staff.

You must schedule an appointment.

I have been taken advantage of by my lenient policy in the past. This ends now. NO MORE.

Do not approach me while I’m in the makeup chair unless I ask to speak with you directly. Either knock or use the doorbell.

I am seeking more free time for me throughout the day.

Do not wait in any hallway to speak to me. I hate being ambushed. Please make an appointment.

I promise you I will not entertain you in the hallway, and do not attempt to walk with me.

If you’re reading this, yes, I mean you.

Everyone, do not take offense to the new way of doing business. It is for the good of my personal life and enjoyment.

Thank you all,

Steve Harvey