CBS Ousts Two Local Stations Execs After Racism Allegations

New York NY/USA-November 3, 2016 A decorative element with the CBS logo outside of Black Rock, the CBS headquarters in New York. (Credit: Shutterstock)

CBS has parted ways with two senior television station executives after they were accused of making “racist” and “sexist” comments to employees.

CBS Television Stations President Peter Dunn and Senior Vice President of News David Friend will not be returning to ViacomCBS after an investigation was launched into the claims, the company announced Wednesday.

“Peter Dunn, president of the CBS Television Stations, and David Friend, senior vice president of news for the stations group, will not return to their positions and will be leaving the Company,” CBS said in a statement. “On an interim basis, Bryon Rubin will continue to run the Stations group while Kim Godwin will continue her oversight of stations’ news operations until new leadership is in place.

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Dunn’s lawyer said his client hopes to be “fully exonerated.”

“We are disappointed in the ruling but CBS has not found any wrongdoing in relation to Peter Dunn. The termination is without cause and Peter continues to be paid according to his contract. We hope that in the future he will be fully exonerated,” the attorney said.

As previously reported, Dunn and Friend were placed on administration leave in January, after the Los Angeles Times published an explosive investigation about an alleged “toxic environment” at CBS Television Stations.

The Times story included detailed accounts from former local news managers who alleged Dunn “cultivated a hostile work environment that included bullying female managers and blocking efforts to hire and retain Black journalists.”

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Another shocking revelation quoted a manager as saying Dunn regularly disparaged legendary CBS 3 Philadelphia news anchor Ukee Washington and described him as “just a jive guy,” adding, “all he does is dance.”

In response, the National Association of Black Journalists called for a meeting with CBS brass and demanded the two execs be fired.

The investigation into the allegations continues, CBS said.

“The external investigation into CBS Television Stations management that is being conducted by Keisha-Ann Gray at Proskauer Rose remains ongoing. We are thankful to those who have shared their experiences and knowledge with the investigators thus far,” the company said. “CBS is committed to a safe, inclusive and respectful workplace where all voices are heard, claims are investigated and appropriate action is taken when necessary.”