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Comcast rejects calls for outside investigation of NBC's handling of sexual harassment

Meg James, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Business News

Since the Lauer affair, there have been other controversies, including over sexist comments made by former MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews and Simon Cowell, a judge on NBC's primetime show "America's Got Talent." In the case of the reality show, NBC hired an outside firm to look into allegations of whether there was a racist and toxic environment on set. Last week, the company announced that a review into Gabrielle Union's high-profile exit from "America's Got Talent" found that workplace issues had "no bearing" on her dismissal from the show.

One shareholder, Arjuna Capital of Manchester, Mass., requested the company conduct an "independent investigation and report on risks posed by failing to prevent sexual harassment."

The firm noted that NBC News' digital editorial staff voted to form a union with the NewsGuild of New York because staff members, among other things, have "serious questions" about management's handling of allegations of workplace sexual misconduct. Allegations about inappropriate comments by managers have been made by three Comcast call center employees, according to Arjuna.

"Workplace harassment can harm shareholder value," Arjuna Capital wrote in its proposal. "To avoid legal and reputational risk, as the employer of 184,000 workers, Comcast must create a culture and transparency, and protect employees from harassment and discrimination."

Comcast urged shareholders to reject the independent review, saying "our company has been built on a foundation of respect, integrity and trust, and we are committed to creating a work environment that promotes those values."

Comcast did not release actual vote totals. The Roberts' family controls 33% of its voting shares.

 

The company said it would provide a break-down of the votes in a Security & Exchange Commission filing within four business days.

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