Former CBS exec blasts network for culture of ‘systematic racism, discrimination and sexual harassment’
In a piece for Variety, Whitney Davis, former executive and longtime employee of CBS, expressed her disgust with the company’s workplace environment.
CBS parted ways with ex-CEO Les Moonves amid sexual misconduct claims over a year ago, but the network’s local affiliates continue to face dozens of allegations of harassment and misogyny, according to a new report.
The Los Angeles Times conducted a lengthy investigation that “uncovered claims of discrimination, retaliation and other forms of mistreatment” at the chain of CBS-owned stations, according to Times’ corporate media reporter Meg James.
Moonves resigned in September 2018 following a slew of sexual misconduct allegations made against him.
“One year after Moonves’ exit, CBS TV stations also face harassment and misogyny claims,” said the Times story, which was published Monday and details claims that CBS’ problems extended to a variety of local stations across the country. The accusations in the Times report allegedly occurred while Moonves was still in place at the network.
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“More than two dozen current and former employees of KCBS and KCAL (both in Los Angeles) described a toxic environment where, they said, employees encountered age discrimination, misogyny, and sexual harassment — and retaliation if they complained,” the report stated.
The Times reported that there were discrimination complaints at CBS-owned stations in Chicago, Dallas and Miami, too. Complaints range from age discrimination to inappropriate comments and unwanted touching.
CBS declined comment when reached by Fox News.
Journalist Michele Gillen, who has reportedly reached a tentative agreement regarding a discrimination and retaliation lawsuit she brought against the company, called CBS a “good ole boys club” that “protects men despite bad behavior,” according to the Times.
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The Times wrote that “multiple women at the Los Angeles stations complained that they were subject to harassment by their bosses or colleagues” over the last seven years.
Former anchor Leyna Nguyen reportedly “complained to KCBS management about inappropriate comments and unwanted touching by a male colleague,” the Times wrote, citing “several people familiar” with the situation.
“CBS spent months investigating the allegations but concluded there was insufficient evidence of wrongdoing, according to a person familiar with the situation who was not authorized to comment publicly and requested anonymity,” the Times wrote.
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The Times reported that CBS reached a settlement with Nguyen in July 2018 and the network parted ways with the person who was accused, noting “CBS did not admit liability in the matter” and the employee denied any wrongdoing.
Nguyen did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
According to the Times, the same employee propositioned another CBS-owned station staffer Gwendolyn Gatti for sex, inappropriately touched her and used racial slurs – but CBS also settled this dispute and denied any liability.
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Gatti was fired shortly after the settlement and is reportedly in the middle of a wrongful termination suit, according to the Times.
The Los Angeles-based paper also reported that former anchor Jill Arrington was earning about $60,000 less than her male predecessor and was asked to engage in inappropriate activities.
“She viewed it as a quid pro quo situation,” the Times reported, citing former KCBS and KCAL anchor Elsa Ramon.
Arrington was dismissed in 2018 from the network, which cited budget cuts.
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“My takeaway from my experience at KCBS is that they were more concerned with protecting political alignments rather than the quality of their on-air broadcasts,” Arrington told the Times.
Former general manager of CBS’ Los Angeles-based stations, Steve Mauldin, spoke to the Times and denied the accusations made against him.
The lengthy Times investigation detailed various other allegations of wrongdoing at the CBS-owned stations and company honchos have promised to take the claims seriously.
“The vast majority enjoy where they work every day and take great pride in serving their local community. At the same time, I am very mindful that in a large company we have people who are unhappy at times. We respect all voices who express workplace concerns to us,” CBS Television Stations president Peter Dunn told the Times.
CBS News has parted ways with Moonves, former “CBS This Morning” anchor Charlie Rose, and “60 Minutes” executive Jeff Fager since the company began cleaning up its culture, while installing high-powered women Susan Zirinsky as CBS News president and Norah O'Donnell as anchor of “CBS Evening News.”
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