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CBS Retains Law Firm to Probe Misconduct Claims at TV Stations

CBS has set in movement “an exterior investigation” into allegations of racist and misogynist conduct by senior executives at its local-TV unit, an indication that the ViacomCBS firm continues to grapple with these points though it has probed them within the latest previous.

In a memo despatched to staffers Friday, George Cheeks, CEO of CBS Leisure Group, mentioned the corporate had employed Keisha-Ann Grey, an legal professional from the legislation agency Proskauer Rose, to study latest allegations of misconduct levied by a report within the Los Angeles Instances that raised points concerning the conduct of Peter Dunn, president of CBS Tv Stations, and David Buddy, senior vice chairman of stories for the stations. The 2 executives have been positioned on administrative depart Monday.

“Keisha-Ann is extremely skilled on this work, and we consider she is well-suited to study this matter totally and thoughtfully,” Cheeks mentioned within the memo, which requested staffers to come ahead and focus on any misbehavior of which that they had data.  “I guarantee you that your voice shall be heard, and that we’ll act on the findings of the investigation each swiftly and appropriately. We additionally need all staff to know they’ll and will elevate issues in good religion and with out concern, which is why we prohibit retaliation — in any kind — in opposition to anybody who speaks up.

The Instances report, based mostly on interviews with feminine staff at CBS native stations, alleged that Dunn and Buddy “cultivated a hostile work setting that included bullying feminine managers and blocking efforts to rent and retain Black journalists.” The Nationwide Affiliation of Black Journalists on Monday mentioned a few of its officers had met with CBS executives on Sunday night, together with Cheeks and Marva Smalls, the corporate’s govt vice chairman and world head of inclusion, to focus on what the group known as “an enormous downside amongst CBS owned-and-operated stations.”

The scenario has additionally drawn the attention of the highest govt at ViacomCBS. “To be clear: our firm takes any allegation of misconduct very significantly, which is why we now have moved shortly to have interaction an exterior investigator to conduct a assessment of this matter,’ mentioned ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish, in a separate memo. “Importantly, we’re encouraging staff to help within the investigation by coming ahead to share their issues.”

The scenario seems to be one Bakish and Cheeks have inherited from a interval earlier than the previous Viacom Inc. and CBS Corp. merged in late 2019.  The corporate acknowledged to the Instances that allegations had been  with Dunn in early 2019 and that “the corporate has not obtained any complaints about his conduct throughout the interval since then.” Buddy informed the Instances in an announcement that feedback he made about staffers “have been solely based mostly on efficiency or {qualifications} — not about anybody’s race or gender.”

Dunn is a veteran TV govt who has been with CBS since 2002. He initially oversaw Philadelphia CBS shops KYW and WPSG earlier than shifting to supervise the corporate’s flagship New York outlet, WCBS and president of gross sales for the native stations. Buddy joined CBS in 2006. Each executives served in senior capacities at NBCUniversal in prior roles, with supervising business-news programming at CNBC.

CBS has been stricken by allegations about its inside office tradition for a while. The previous chairman of CBS, Leslie Moonves, was ousted from the corporate in 2018 after being accused of sexual misconduct. He denied the allegations. Claims of inappropriate conduct and therapy have been additionally raised at CBS Information, which ousted former “CBS This Morning” co-anchor Charlie Rose within the fall of 2017 after allegations of sexual harassment have been raised. Rose denied the claims.

Proskauer Rose was beforehand employed by CBS to study claims about office tradition at CBS Information. That probe was folded into the 2018 investigation tied to the allegations made in opposition to Moonves.

Grey, the legal professional, is a accomplice within the legislation agency’s unit devoted to issues tied to labor and employment. “As essential social change actions like Black Lives Matter, #MeToo and LGBTQ Pleasure proceed to form society and companies, Keisha-Ann is the go-to advisor when addressing points associated to discrimination, harassment and/or lack of variety,” the legislation agency says on its site.

 

 

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