2 CBS Execs on Leave After Newspaper Exposé

Peter Dunn and David Friend accused of racism, sexism in 'Los Angeles Times' investigation
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 26, 2021 1:21 PM CST
CBS Suspends 2 Executives Accused of Sexism, Racism
The CBS logo at the network's broadcast center in New York in 2017.   (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

Two high-level CBS executives have been suspended after the Los Angeles Times reported that employees accused them of sexist and racist behavior. Peter Dunn and David Friend are on administrative leave while an outside investigation is conducted, per the New York Times. Dunne is president of CBS television stations, and Friend is senior vice president of news for TV stations. Employees say Dunne blocked the network's attempts to hire Black journalists and bullied at least four female managers. He repeatedly dismissed a Black news anchor in Philadelphia as "just a jive guy," per the LA Times. The article ran Sunday, and leaders of the National Association of Black Journalists met with CBS officials the same day to urge the two executives be fired. CBS issued a statement saying it is "committed to a diverse, inclusive and respectful workplace."

Employees had already put their faith in an earlier investigation sparked by sexual misconduct accusations against chief executive Les Moonves. That effort by outside law firms was supposed to find whether there were similar problems elsewhere in CBS. "The horrific behavior would finally be exposed," a woman who quit as newsroom boss at the Philadelphia station said. But when the investigation was concluded, Dunne and Friend still had their jobs. "Was it just for show?" a former general manager of the Chicago station said, per the LA Times. A few people were ousted, including Moonves and journalist Charlie Rose. But the 28 CBS-owned stations, which have faced lawsuits and protests for years, are much the same. Just three of the local station general managers are women, and two are people of color. (A 60 Minutes boss also was fired after accusations of harassment.)

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