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Steve Harvey Tries to Justify His Epic Work Memo: ‘I Just Didn’t Want to Be in This Prison Anymore’

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Steve Harvey has publicly addressed the leaked memo he sent to his talk show staff that accused them of “ambushing” him in his dressing room and banned them from entering unless invited.

Harvey, 60, confirmed the legitimacy of the memo, which was leaked on Robert Feder’s Chicago media blog Wednesday, as well as clarified his comments in a Thursday interview with Entertainment Tonight‘s Kevin Frazier.

“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 said. “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.”

RELATED VIDEO: Steve Harvey Opens up About His Journey From Rags to Riches

Harvey went on to explain that he sent out the memo in an attempt to ask everyone “to simply honor and respect” his privacy.

“If you come out your house, you don’t want anybody on your porch waiting on you,” he said. “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,” he added. “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.”

The original memo was reportedly sent to Steve Harvey staff at the beginning of the current season of the nationally syndicated talk show, which has long filmed in Chicago. Starting this fall, the revamped talk show will tape in Los Angeles at Harvey’s request with a new crew.

Read Harvey’s full memo below:

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.