CHICAGO — Steve Harvey defended himself Thursday after it was revealed he told the staff of his Chicago-based talk show not to “ambush” him in the hallways or approach him while he’s in his makeup chair.
“Look man, 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 told Entertainment Tonight.
Chicago media columnist Robert Feder posted the months-old memo Wednesday, a day before Harvey was scheduled to end production of his Chicago show. A representative for Endemol Shine North America, which produces “Steve Harvey,” declined to comment as the email swiftly garnered backlash online.
“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,” were among the rules listed in the note. “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.”
Harvey said Thursday he sent the email “asking everyone to simply honor and respect” his privacy.
“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,” Harvey said. “I don’t apologize about the letter, but it’s kind of crazy what people who took this thing and ran, man.”
Harvey’s comments came as he taped his final two episodes Thursday at the WMAQ-Ch. 5 studios, his show’s home for nearly five years. One of these episodes is an hourlong tribute to Harvey’s favorite “Ask Steve” segment, during which he fields questions from the audience. It’s unclear when this episode will air. Episodes of Harvey’s show sometimes air in a different order than they were taped.
The remaining “Steve Harvey” episodes are set to feature: singers Patti LaBelle and Kelly Rowland (who were both spotted in town last week); Bravo talk show host Andy Cohen; “Dance Moms” star Cheryl Burke (in town May 2) and “The Bachelorette” Season 10 winner Josh Murray, who was here in mid-April. Harvey’s morning radio show colleagues are also expected to appear, among others.
“Vanderpump Rules” star Stassi Schroeder also will likely be one of the final guests. She posted on social media Wednesday from the “Steve Harvey” green room.
Harvey said he plans to welcome more celebrity guests when his new Los Angeles-based show “Steve” premieres Sept. 5 on WMAQ-Ch. 5.