NABJ demands more from CBS

NABJ Urges CBS to ‘Transform its Toxic Culture’

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The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) is calling on CBS to end its “reported toxic culture” following the ousting of two high-ranking executives.

CBS’s CEO George Cheeks announced that Peter Dunn, who served as president of the company’s television stations group, and David Friend, the senior vice president of news are no longer employed by CBS.

“We have determined that CBS Stations President Peter Dunn and SVP of News David Friend are not returning to their positions and will be leaving the Company,” Cheeks noted.

In January, the Los Angeles Times published a story alleging sexism, racism and homophobia by CBS executives Dunn and Friend. After the allegations surfaced, they were both placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.

Two former employees in management positions at CBS’ Philadelphia station said Dunn used the word “jive” on several different occasions to describe Black journalist Ukee Washington while describing a news anchor applicant as “too gay for Philadelphia.”

“After multiple meetings with CBS leadership about these allegations and our calling for the firing of Dunn and Friend in January, NABJ encourages the company to use this opportunity to immediately bring in permanent leadership, policies and procedures that will transform its reported toxic culture into one that promotes and demands diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) at every level of operations at its networks and owned and operated stations,” said NABJ Vice President-Broadcast Ken Lemon.

The network’s former longtime leader, Leslie Moonves, was accused of cultivating a hostile work environment that included bullying female managers and blocking efforts to hire and retain Black journalists. In September, Moonves resigned from his role amid fresh allegations of sexual misconduct.

In December 2018, the CBS board of directors declined to pay Moonves a $120 million severance package after his departure over sexual misconduct. He was just one of several top executives to lose their positions over claims of discrimination or sexual misconduct.

While the NABJ said it “applauds” the effort, they demand that further action be taken.

“We commend this action, but this is only the first step. CBS must present a comprehensive plan of action to repair the massive damage inflicted on staff by Dunn and Friend, and absolutely make those who were injured whole,” said NABJ Vice President-Digital Roland S. Martin.

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