CBS has hired the law firm Proskauer Rose to conduct an external investigation into accusations 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.
“I … understand that some employees may be hesitant to come forward and share their concerns, but I assure you that your voice will be heard, and that we will act on the findings of the investigation both swiftly and appropriately,” Cheeks wrote in the memo. “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.”
Keisha-Ann Gray of Proskauer Rose will lead the external investigation, Cheeks said.
In a separate memo sent to staff, ViacomCBS president and CEO Bob Bakish also encouraged 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.
Earlier this week, CBS placed CBS TV Stations executives Peter Dunn and David Friend on administrative leave, pending “a third-party investigation” into the accusations of misconduct — which included the bullying of female managers and efforts to block the hiring and retention of Black journalists — that were first reported by the Los Angeles Times.
In recent years, CBS has been at the center of a number of scandals involving its top executives and talent that have led to the firings or forced resignations of former chief executive Les Moonves, journalist Charlie Rose, former “60 Minutes” executive producer Jeff Fager and “MacGyver” and “Magnum PI” showrunner Peter Lenkov.