CBS Suspends Two Executives Accused of Racist, Sexist Conduct

ViacomCBS Inc.’s CBS network placed two senior television executives on leave after a news article detailed allegations that they engaged in racist and sexist workplace behavior.

Peter Dunn, president of CBS TV stations, and David Friend, senior vice president of news for the station group, are suspended pending the results of a third-party investigation into the conduct reported Sunday by the Los Angeles Times, CBS said in a statement Tuesday.

The newspaper cited five women who said Dunn and Friend created a hostile environment that included bullying female managers and blocking efforts to hire and retain Black journalists. Dunn declined to comment to the Times.

In a statement to the Times, Friend said he and the station group have a strong track record of hiring and supporting women and minorities. “These comments I may have made about our employees or prospective hires were only based on performance or qualifications--not about anyone’s race or gender,” he said.

“CBS is committed to a diverse, inclusive and respectful workplace where all voices are heard, claims are investigated and appropriate action is taken where necessary,” the network said in the statement.

Before it reunited with Viacom Inc. in a merger in late 2019, CBS Corp. ousted its longtime chief executive officer, Les Moonves, in 2018 after he was accused of a pattern of sexual harassment. That scandal spurred an investigation of CBS’s culture by two outside law firms, which the Times said led employees who had worked with Dunn and Friend to expect that their behavior would be exposed and punished.

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