*CBS has suspended top TV station executives Peter Dunn and David Friend following an LA Times report on allegations of racism and misogyny.
The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) met Sunday night with CBS officials regarding the disturbing revelations in the LA Times about the toxic work environment at the company, specifically the CBS Television Stations.
Those stations operate under the leadership of Dunn, President of CBS Stations and Friend, Senior Vice President of News for CBS Stations and VP of News at WCBS-TV New York. Based on the racist comments detailed in the story, the NABJ called for their immediate termination.
Discrimination is still prevalent at some of our major news networks. Even after ousting Les Moonves for sexual misconduct, @CBSNews has a new issue with racism & retaliation accusations at their #CBS local stations.
— AprilDRyan (@AprilDRyan) January 25, 2021
The allegations in the LA Times story include:
- Dunn disparaging popular and highly-respected Black male Philadelphia anchor Ukee Washington as “just a jive guy” and seeming to ridicule him for dancing on air;
- Dunn and Friend criticizing a young Black female morning anchor’s accent and work, a few days into her new assignment;
- The firing of another Black female anchor of Ethiopian origin because Dunn “hated her face;”
- And a complaint was filed by a former CBS manager with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission expressing discriminatory behavior “through the instruction of others,” including pay, based on race, gender and sexual orientation.
In addition to information detailed in the LA Times article, during the meeting, the NABJ delegation outlined a number of member complaints including:
- WCBS in NYC has just one full-time Black male reporter hired this year after going more than 5 years without one.
- WCBS in NYC has just one Black female full-time reporter.
- WCBS has just one Black news producer.
- WCBS has just one Black manager that was promoted in February.
- KYW Philadelphia repeatedly passed over Black freelance employees and gave full-time positions to other journalists.
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) January 26, 2021
“New York City is one of the most diverse cities in the world so there is no excuse not to have sufficient Black representation among the news staff,” said NABJ Vice President- Broadcast Ken Lemon. “The time for change is now.”
NABJ will be following up on the results of the investigation and subsequent actions taken by CBS.
“It’s a shame that 45 years after NABJ was founded by 44 brave Black journalists, we are still having to contend with racism,” said NABJ Vice President-Digital Roland S. Martin. “It’s a shame that journalists like Brooke Thomas, who was mentioned in the LA Times report, have had their careers stunted because of racism of white media executives. We aren’t satisfied with lip service. We don’t want promises that things will change. We are heartened by our discussion with George and Marva that there will be real, substantial and substantive changes at CBS to ensure that it is a welcoming place for Black and other journalists of color to work, rise and succeed.”
*VIA PRES RELEASE