CBS has ousted two powerful TV station executives following allegations of racist and abusive behavior.
Peter Dunn, who served as president of the TV Stations group since 2009, and David Friend, the senior vice president of news for more than a decade, are no longer part of CBS, the company's chief executive, George Cheeks, said Wednesday in an email to staff.
The move comes two months after an investigation by the Los Angeles Times alleged that the pair cultivated an environment that included bullying female managers and blocking efforts to hire and retain Black journalists.
Dunn allegedly made racist comments about Ukee Washington, a beloved Black anchor at the CBS-owned television station in Philadelphia. In addition, staff members in Philadelphia and at the flagship station WCBS-TV in New York complained of inappropriate behavior and news coverage decisions that neglected communities of color. The men have previously denied any inappropriate conduct.
CBS suspended the two executives a day after The Times' report was published.
"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 said in the email. "Until we have new leadership in place, Bryon Rubin will continue to run the Stations group while Kim Godwin will continue her oversight of Stations' news operations. I will be sure to update you with information about permanent leadership for the group as soon as it is finalized."
With 2,800 employees, the CBS Television Stations group is an influential part of the broadcasting giant. It provides local news for millions of viewers who live in cities where CBS owns a TV station, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, Chicago and New York.
Cheeks also said the investigation into alleged wrongdoing at the TV stations group will continue.
So far, dozens of current and former executives have met with Keisha-Ann Gray of the Proskauer Rose law firm as part of that investigation. Several told The Times they have complained about the alleged abusive work environment inside the TV stations group.
"I want to be very clear that the external investigation under the direction of Keisha-Ann Gray at Proskauer Rose is not over and will continue," Cheeks said. "We appreciate those who have already provided information to the investigators. This entire process, while sometimes painful and emotional, is an important step forward in living up to our promise of a safe, inclusive, respectful and equitable workplace for all of us."©2021 Los Angeles Times. Visit at latimes.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.