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Jeff Garlin leaving ‘The Goldbergs’ after investigation into his on-set behavior

Nardine Saad
Los Angeles Times

“The Goldbergs” star Jeff Garlin is leaving the ABC comedy.

The comedian, who has played gruff but loving patriarch Murray Goldberg in eight seasons of the sitcom, has reached a mutual agreement with Sony Pictures Television, which produces the show, to depart the TV series, The Times has confirmed.

Representatives for ABC and Sony declined to comment about the agreement Thursday.

Jeff Garlin arrives at the premiere of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" on Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021, at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles.

The actor’s departure comes in the wake of a human-resources investigation into his on-set behavior that stemmed from multiple complaints, according to trade publications Deadline and the Hollywood Reporter.

Earlier this month, Vanity Fair reported that Garlin had allegedly engaged in a pattern of verbal and physical conduct on set that made people uncomfortable, citing three former “Goldbergs” employees.

Some of that behavior was reportedly demeaning or unprofessional and involved the use of language that some found inappropriate and that was particularly demeaning to women. Garlin would also allegedly touch or hug people whether or not they were comfortable with that contact, according to reports.

“He got away with it because he would call himself out for it – saying he was a big teddy bear, saying things like, ‘Oh you know me, just a big bowl of mush, I’m a hugger. I just love you,’” one source told the magazine.

The “Curb Your Enthusiasm” star talked at length about his conduct with Vanity Fair reporter Maureen Ryan and asserted at the time that he had not been fired from the show. He did admit that he’d been approached by human resources three years in a row about his self-described silliness on set.

“Well, to be honest with you, there is no story,” he said in the Q&A Vanity Fair story. “And I’m saying that in all sincerity, because that’s the thing that has me confused. Even with Sony – we have a difference of opinion, Sony and myself. OK. My opinion is, I have my process about how I’m funny, in terms of the scene and what I have to do. They feel that it makes for a quote ‘unsafe’ workspace.

“Now, mind you, my silliness making an unsafe workspace – I don’t understand how that is,” Garlin added. “And I’m on a comedy show. I am always a kind and thoughtful person. I make mistakes, sure. But my comedy is about easing people’s pain. Why would I ever want to cause pain in anybody for a laugh? That’s bullying. That’s just uncalled for.”

Garlin, 59, also denied rumors that he had had a physical altercation with a stand-in, telling Vanity Fair: “I have never physically come at anyone, for any reason, so that I find terribly confusing and untrue.” However, he described himself as “a loose canon” at work.

The Hollywood Reporter reported Wednesday that “The Goldbergs” cast and crew were informed of Garlin’s exit Wednesday by a veteran producer who told the staff that the decision was a mutual one between Garlin and Sony.

Garlin had been expected to continue filming the current ninth season of the 1980s-set comedy but told Vanity Fair earlier this month that he likely wouldn’t return for a 10th season if ABC renewed the series for the 2022-23 broadcast cycle. He had also been working on a reduced schedule for the show.

“I didn’t want to come back. I’d had my fill of it. And also I was very disgusted by the whole HR thing of the past few years. But I love the crew. I love everybody I work with. And if I say ‘No,’ I’m feeling like there’s no show. So I said, ‘We can do these episodes, I can do four days. And then other times, please shoot me out in one day,’ and they agreed to it,” he explained, saying that he didn’t really want to come back for the ninth season because he was “bored.”

The comic still has plenty of work lined up. He stars in and executive produces HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” with Larry David; the series recently debuted its 11th season. He’ll also appear in Damien Chazelle’s “Babylon” with Margot Robbie and Brad Pitt and is currently on a stand-up tour, Use Me, meant to help comedy clubs affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.