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CBS Investigation Not Bearing Up Under Scrutiny

The Los Angeles Times published an investigation into events that followed CBS’s well-publicized problems with its former leader Leslie Moonves in 2019. Following allegations of severe sexual harassment against Moonves, CBS hired two outside law firms to investigate. Employees believed these investigators would look at not just what Moonves may have done, but the working environment throughout CBS. Questions asked by the Los Angeles Times revealed that many employees felt unsatisfied with the investigation. In particular, CBS Television Stations President Peter Dunn allegedly created a toxic work environment that included “bullying female managers and blocking efforts to hire and retain Black journalists.” Dunn and his alleged enablers remain in the company, leaving these employees to question CBS’s intention to change.

Some aspects of CBS do reflect positive changes, according to the Los Angeles Times. Programming includes more individuals of color, and there are efforts in the news division to diversify as well. However, Dunn runs 28 CBS-owned TV stations, deciding which reporters and anchors appear on camera. According to the article, only 3 CBS local stations have female general managers and just two managers are people of color.

When asked by the Los Angeles Times, CBS issued a statement asserting allegations against Dunn had been addressed, and the company did not receive any additional complaints. However, quickly after publication of the Times’s article, CBS suspended Dunn and his primary enabler, David Friend. CBS will initiate a new investigation into the issues raised by the Times. Reportedly, high-level ViacomCBS executives, including the vice-president overseeing diversity and inclusion efforts, met with the National Association of Black Journalists. The NABJ raised complaints about CBS’s lack of diversity during the meeting.