CBS has hired the law firm Proskauer Rose to conduct an investigation into allegations of racism, sexism and abusive workplace behavior at CBS TV stations, CBS Entertainment Group president and CEO George Cheeks said in a Friday memo to staff obtained by The Wrap.
Keisha-Ann Gray of Proskauer Rose will lead the external investigation, and is expected to look into the conduct of Peter Dunn, president of CBS Television Stations, and David Friend, senior vice president of news for the stations, according to Cheek’s memo.
The two of CBS’s top executives have been placed on leave after the Los Angeles Times reported accusations that they blocked the hiring and retention of black employees and intimidated female co-workers.
In a separate memo sent to staff, ViacomCBS president and CEO Bob Bakish also urged employees to “assist in the investigation by coming forward to share their concerns.”
“To be clear: our company takes any allegation of misconduct very seriously, which is why we have moved quickly to engage an external investigator to conduct a review of this matter,” Bakish wrote.
CBS Entertainment Group president and CEO George Cheeks also encouraged employees to come forward.
“We also want all employees to know they can and should raise concerns in good faith and without fear which is why we prohibit retaliation — in any form — against anyone who speaks up,” he reportedly said.
According to Breitbart, Keisha-Ann Gray’s profile on the firm’s official site describes her as the “go-to advisor when addressing issues related to discrimination, harassment, and/or lack of diversity.”
CBS has been no stranger to scandal in recent years, with alleged misconduct at the network’s highest levels. CBS chief executive Les Moonves left the company in 2018 amid a number of allegations of sexual misconduct, including assault made against him.
Charlie Rose stepped down the year before as co-host of CBS This Morning after several women accused him of sexual misconduct. The TV host was accused of using his PBS interview show as “an instrument of his predatory sexual behavior”, turning his studio into a “sexual hunting ground”, “ longtime makeup artist alleged in a lawsuit.
Jeff Fager, former chairman of CBS News and executive producer of 60 Minutes, stepped down in 2018 following reports that he allowed sexual harassment to go unchecked in the network’s news division.