Rick Najera has resigned as the director of the CBS Diversity Sketch Comedy showcase following an investigation into allegations of harassment.
“In March 2017, CBS became aware of inappropriate comments made during the production of the Diversity Comedy Showcase, and remedial action was taken at that time, which the company felt was appropriate to the matter,” a network spokesperson said in a statement to Variety. “Subsequent information has recently emerged. After looking into these reports and a discussion with Mr. Najera, he has resigned from his role with the Diversity Comedy Showcase.”
Najera, whose writing credits include “East Los High, “In Living Color,” “MADtv” and “Latinologues” on Broadway, has served as director of the showcase for 13 years. No replacement has been named.
Variety reported that the first complaint of inappropriate advances made by Najera was investigated by CBS last February, which led to disciplinary action. However, new allegations of lewd comments came to light last week, leading to his resignation.
“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” star Rachel Bloom reportedly sent an email to participants in the showcase in 2014 warning them about Najera’s behavior and asking victims to come forward.
The program aims to highlight the talents of underrepresented ethnic groups and actors with disabilities or LGBT actors of any ethnicity. The 12th annual showcase was held at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood, January 2017.
Read Najera’s full statement below:
We are heartbroken and confounded by deliberate and cruel defamations. Anyone who has been slammed by libelous deceptions knows exactly how we feel. As a family, we are hurt and shocked. It’s unbelievable that a diversity program I directed and we supported for more than a decade would be twisted against me.
As we wrestle with our reactions to this attack, I want to remind people that I’ve spent my whole life not only making people laugh – but showcasing our shared humanity. I have spoken publicly of my near-death experience and the pain and discrimination that, unfortunately, is a part of Hollywood. This is now the most painful and unjust situation I – and my family — have ever experienced.
Right now, we want to thank the people who are standing with us and the flood of calls and emails of support from those who know my character and who know the truth. We are strengthened by their friendship and love as we begin to right this wrong.