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ABC News Cans VP Accused of Making Racist Remarks

After independent probe and administrative leave, Barbara Fedida won't be coming back
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 21, 2020 8:09 AM CDT

(Newser) – Last month, ABC News executive Barbara Fedida, who oversaw diversity initiatives at the company, was placed on administrative leave after a HuffPost article detailed "a long pattern of insensitive statements, including racist comments." Now Fedida won't be coming back. The Wall Street Journal reports that an outside law firm was recruited to investigate the allegations, and, per a company email from Walt Disney Television Chair Peter Rice cited by ABC, that probe "substantiated that Ms. Fedida did make some of the unacceptable racially insensitive comments attributed to her," "managed in a rough manner," and, "on occasion, used crass and inappropriate language." Among those Fedida was said to have commented on: Good Morning America co-host Robin Roberts and The View co-host Sunny Hostin.

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In Roberts' case, which took place during contract negotiations, Fedida allegedly scoffed that it wasn't like the network was asking Roberts to "pick cotton." The probe found there was "no basis" for reports that said Fedida had been complained about dozens of times to HR, or that there were "millions of dollars" in hush settlements. Still, "although Ms. Fedida made contributions to the organization over the 20-year span of her career, in light of the overall findings, we have determined that she can no longer serve in a leadership role," Rice noted of her departure, per the New York Post. He added that Fedida's dual role at the company—she was senior VP of both talent relations and business affairs—will be split into two, with different people tapped to fill those slots. Fedida hasn't yet commented on her firing. When the accusations were first made, she called them "heartbreaking and incredibly misleading." (Read more ABC News stories.)

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