CBS officials put on leave after reporting “racist” and “sexist” comments


The National Association of Black Journalists investigated allegations against him following an investigation by the Los Angeles Times, in which he “created a hostile work environment.”

The Los Angeles Times story, published on Sunday, contains images of a Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission complaint filed by a former employee who made “racist, sexist, homophopic, and discriminatory comments” on Peter Dunn, president of CBS Television Stations, an executive She charges.

CBS said in a statement Monday night that Dunn and David Friend, the senior vice president of news for TV stations, “are placed on administrative leave, pending the results of third-party investigations into issues (including) The recent Los Angeles Times reports. “

The company said, “CBS is committed to a diverse, inclusive and respectful workplace, where all voices are heard, claims are investigated and, where necessary, appropriate action is taken.”

Amid allegations lodged in the Los Angeles story, two former employees at management positions at CBS ‘Philadelphia station said Dunn used the word “jive” to describe the anchor and famous Philadelphia journalist Uking Washington on several occasions.

On another charge, one of the employees said that when Dunn refused to extend the contract to a black female anchor, she raised ‘bizarre objections’, such as ‘I hate her face.’

The same employee claimed Dunn also questioned whether a job applicant for another anchor position was “too gay for Philadelphia.”

Friend is accused of inappropriate workplace behavior by two former employees, including criticizing the pronunciation of a new anchor and screaming that he should stop [expletive] UP. ”

In a statement posted Monday on the website of the National Association of Black Journalists, the organization, which represents more than 4,000 journalists across the country, said it “has heard from many CBS employees across the country and has been involved in numerous lawsuits and The investigation has been made aware of. “

“It is clear that there is a major problem among stations owned and operated by CBS, and to change the company’s culture, it must begin with the firing of Dun & Friend,” the organization said.

ViacomCBS said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times that “In response to the CBS investigation in early 2019, senior management at the time addressed the situation with Mr. Dunn, and the company has not had any complaints about his conduct since. Millie. ” “

Friend told the paper that any comments he made about employees or candidates were “based only on performance or merit – not about someone’s race or gender.”

“According to the Los Angeles Times, a friend said in a statement,” I believe I – and our stations – have hired women and BIPOC reporters in key roles as anchors, reporters and news directors , Has a strong track record of supporting and keeping. ”

Senior managers of ViacomCBS met with members of the National Association of Black Journalists on Sunday evening to voice their concerns. Executives include CBS Entertainment Group CEO George Cheeks and Marva Smalls, the company’s global head. According to the NABJ statement, they agreed to the need for an external investigation and “promised to work with the NABJ.”

Bren Kennedy, former general manager of CBS ‘Philadelphia station, who filed a Pennsylvania Human Relations complaint, also alleged that he was fired in retaliation for cooperating in an internal review of Dunn’s conduct. CBS disputed the retaliation claim, saying Kennedy was “fired for demonstrating.”

In August 2018, the board of directors of CBS Corporation Hired two law firms To investigate allegations of sexual misconduct against former CEO Les Moonves, as well as more general allegations about corporate culture.

In a December 17, 2018 statement, the CBS board stated that Moonves was fired for “the reason” and that “investigators learned of past incidents of inappropriate and unprofessional conduct, and concluded that the company’s historical policies” , Practices and structures have not been reflected. ” A high institutional priority on preventing harassment and retaliation. “

However, the statement also stated that law firms have concluded that harassment and retaliation do not permeate CBS.

The Board of Directors never publicly released the findings of the investigation.

“Keeping quiet was not an option,” Margaret Cronon, one of the employees who spoke to the Los Angeles Times about Dun & Friend, wrote on her LinkedIn page Sunday.

“I have always believed that when we see racism, discrimination and other aggressive behavior in the workplace, we should speak up. I wish I had acted so quickly.”

The Los Angeles Times reported in a separate story Sunday that two law firms were also told about an unusual perk CBS when they acquired WLNY, a small television station in Long Island, New York: a special Membership in the invitation-only country club with a $ 1 million initiation fee. According to the Times, the membership was named after Dunn. The club is owned by the founder of WLNY, which sold the channel for $ 55 million.

CBS said in a statement, “As part of the acquisition ten years ago, CBS was offered membership of the Seabonac Golf Club of Long Island. Membership was disclosed to senior management and legal counsel. While Was listed in the name of an executive. Club rules, it is a corporate membership that is used to host clients and business partners. The annual dues are paid by CBS and any payments made by executives Personal expenses are paid from one’s own pocket.

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