Two CBS local television executives were placed on administrative leave Monday, hours after the National Association of Black Journalists demanded they be fired over a Los Angeles Times investigation into allegations they “cultivated a hostile work environment.”
The Los Angeles Times story, published Sunday, includes images of a Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission complaint filed by a former employee who accuses one executive, CBS Television Stations President Peter Dunn, of making “racist, sexist, homophopic and discriminatory comments.”
CBS said in a statement Monday night that Dunn and David Friend, Senior Vice President, News for the TV Stations, “have been placed on administrative leave, pending the results of a third-party investigation into issues that include those raised in (the) recent Los Angeles Times report.”
“CBS is committed to a diverse, inclusive and respectful workplace where all voices are heard, claims are investigated and appropriate action is taken where necessary,” the company said.
Among the allegations reported in the Los Angeles story, two former employees in management positions at CBS’ Philadelphia station said Dunn used the word “jive” on multiple occasions to describe anchor and well-known Philadelphia journalist Ukee Washington.
In another allegation, one of the employees said that when Dunn refused to extend the contract of a Black female anchor, he “raised ‘bizarre objections,’ such as saying, ‘I hate her face.'”
That same employee claimed Dunn also questioned whether a job applicant for another anchor position was “too gay for Philadelphia.”
Friend is accused by the two former employees of inappropriate workplace behavior, including criticizing a new anchor’s accent, and screaming that she should shut the [expletive] up.”
In a statement posted to the National Association of Black Journalists’ website Monday, the organization, which represents more than 4,000 journalists nationwide, said it “has heard from numerous CBS employees across the country and has been made aware of multiple lawsuits and investigations.”
“It is clear that there is a massive problem among CBS owned-and-operated stations, and in order for the company’s culture to be transformed, it must begin with the firing of Dunn and Friend,” the organization said.
ViacomCBS told the Los Angeles Times in a statement that “in response to a CBS investigation in early 2019, senior management at the time addressed the situation with Mr. Dunn, and the company has not received any complaints about his conduct during the period since then.”
Friend told the paper that any comments he made about employees or candidates “were only based on performance or qualifications — not about anyone’s race or gender.”
“I believe that I — and our stations — have a strong track record of hiring, supporting and placing women and BIPOC journalists in important roles as anchors, reporters and news directors,” Friend said in a statement,…
Go to the news source: CBS executives placed on leave after reports of “racist” and “sexist” comments