Jeff Garlin, who had played Murray Christian Goldberg in The Goldbergs since its 2013 launch, abruptly left the ABC sitcom at the end of last year.
Garlin exited the series in December following a human resources investigation stemming from several complaints about his on-set behavior, including alleged lewd language and unwarranted touching.
In an interview with Vanity Fair prior to his departure from the show, Garlin shared that HR had come to him three years in a row to discuss his behavior.
When asked what HR had brought to him, Garlin said, “I am sorry to tell you that there really is no big story. Unless you want to do a story about political correctness.”
“There is no story,” the actor reiterated. “And I’m saying that in all sincerity, because that’s the thing that has me confused. Even with [series producer] Sony—we have a difference of opinion, Sony and myself. Okay. 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. 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.”
While Garlin refused to specify any of his allegedly problematic on-set behavior during his interview with Vanity Fair, Deadline reported that the actor retaliated after a female camera assistant who made an HR complaint. According to the trade publication, Garlin’s frequent use of the word “vagina” to try and get a laugh out of the crew disturbed the camera assistant, which led the latter to make a complaint to HR.
“After the actor found out, he reportedly put his hands around her and kept saying ‘vagina’ in her face over and over again,” read a portion of Deadline’s report.
How did The Goldbergs write off Murray?
Despite Garlin’s departure from the show, his character, Murray, remains a part of the show’s ongoing season 9. Though Garlin has not filmed any new episodes, the sitcom has been using the actor’s body double in order to film his incomplete scenes, and superimposing his face during post-production.
This move, however, led to some criticism online, including a tweet from journalist Noel Murray, which prompted a response from The Goldbergs star McLendon-Covey.
“They should either cancel The Goldbergs or kill off Jeff Garlin’s character because the workarounds they’ve been using this season ain’t working,” Murray tweeted on Monday, alongside a Goldbergs clip in which Garlin’s superimposed face and pre-recorded dialogue are particularly obvious.
McLendon-Covey, who plays Beverly Goldberg in the sitcom, replied to Murray’s tweet, writing: “Thanks for the great suggestion Noel! This season threw us for a loop because a.) it’s hard to incorporate someone who doesn’t want to be there and wants to leave mid-scene, and b.) we weren’t about to re-write the 2nd half of the season. We’re doing our best.”
Thanks for the great suggestion Noel! This season threw us for a loop because a.) it's hard to incorporate someone who doesn't want to be there and wants to leave mid-scene, and b.) we werent about to re-write the 2nd half of the season. We're doing our best.
— Wendi McLendon-Covey (@wendimclendonco) March 15, 2022
The Goldbergs season 9 airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. Though season 9’s episode count was recently upped from 18 to 22 half-hour installments, the Adam F. Goldberg-created comedy has yet to be renewed for a season 10.