CBS has placed two top TV executives on leave after a report detailing accusations that they had created a hostile work environment, including making disparaging remarks about female and Black employees.
The executives, Peter Dunn, the president of CBS television stations, and David Friend, the senior vice president of news for TV stations, were placed on administrative leave pending the results of a third-party investigation, the company said in a statement Monday.
“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,” according to the statement. CBS declined further comment.
The suspensions came after The Los Angeles Times published a report Sunday in which employees accused the executives of “bullying female managers and blocking efforts to hire and retain Black journalists.”
The newspaper reported that Dunn frequently denigrated a Black news anchor at KYW, the CBS station in Philadelphia, calling him “just a jive guy” and that at least four current and former female CBS executives said they had been bullied by Dunn from 2017 to 2019.
Dunn declined to comment to The Los Angeles Times about the allegations made against him.
The newspaper’s report also said several Black journalists had either left their positions at the Philadelphia station or were blocked by Dunn or Friend from being hired.
In a statement to The Los Angeles Times, Friend said that he and CBS stations had a strong track record of hiring and supporting women and journalists of color. “These comments I may have made about our employees or prospective hires were only based on performance or qualifications — not about anyone’s race or gender,” Friend said.
In recent years, CBS has faced numerous scandals over the treatment of its employees, including at the highest levels of the company. Its longtime chief executive, Les Moonves, was forced out in 2018 after multiple women accused him of sexual misconduct.
On Sunday, officials from the National Association of Black Journalists met with CBS officials and called for both Dunn and Friend to be fired.
The association said that the issues detailed in The Los Angeles Times’ investigation were not confined to one station, and that it had heard from several CBS employees across the country.