Steve Harvey Not Sorry for Staff Memo: ‘I Just Didn’t Want to Be in This Prison Anymore’

On Wednesday, an email surfaced that Harvey sent to employees, asking for more privacy and less ambushing

Steve Harvey is speaking out about the shocking staff memo he sent to employees in which he asked for more privacy and less ambushing at work.

“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 Entertainment Tonight on Thursday. “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 added, “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.”

On Wednesday, Chicago blogger Robert Feder published an email sent by Harvey to his employees as he prepared to leave Chicago for Los Angeles for his new show, “Steve.”

“There will be no meetings in my dressing room. No stopping by or popping in. NO ONE,” read the email. “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.”

The email also demanded “all the ambushing to stop now,” that employees “schedule an appointment” to speak with Harvey, and that people not approach him unless he asks “to speak with you directly.”

Now, Harvey had a simple explanation for why he wanted the “freedom to move around.”

“If you come out your house, you don’t want anybody on your porch waiting on you,” he told Entertainment Tonight. “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. 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.”

Harvey’s new syndicated talk show, “Steve,” debuts September 5.