Scott Pelley: ‘Hostile Work Environment’ Complaints Led to ‘CBS Evening News’ Firing (Video)

Pelley says ex-CBS News head David Rhodes “told me if I kept agitating about that internally then I’d lose my job”

Last Updated: May 28, 2019 @ 8:40 AM

Scott Pelley called out his former bosses on Sunday, accusing former CBS News President David Rhodes of firing him as “CBS Evening News” anchor over complaints he brought forth over the work environment at the network.

During an interview on CNN’s “Reliable Sources,” Pelley said he went to Rhodes five years ago with complaints that “this hostile work environment couldn’t go on, for women and men […] And he told me if I kept agitating about that internally then I’d lose my job.”

Pelley said that he took his complaints to “Rhodes’ boss,” who did not address the issue. In an email to The Daily Beast, Rhodes denied Pelley’s accusations. “That simply never happened,” he said. “And if [Pelley] had those conversations about this with anybody, it wasn’t with me.”

“I went to his boss [CBS News Chairman Jeff Fager] and he told me that he didn’t share my concerns, and, having exhausted the possibilities in the news division, I went to the chairman of the CBS Corporation [Les Moonves], who listened to me very concerned for an hour, and asked some penetrating questions about what was going on,” Pelley said. “I didn’t hear back from him, but in the next opportunity in my contract, I was let go from the ‘Evening News.'”

Both Fager and Moonves were removed from CBS last year following reports of sexual misconduct and harassment at the network. Former “CBS This Morning” host Charlie Rose was also fired after reports surfaced of sexual misconduct accusations towards him dating back to 1986.

Pelley did not specify in the CNN interview whether his complaints were about the sexual harassment accusations that have led to investigations into CBS and its news division. Pelley currently serves as a correspondent for “60 Minutes,” while Norah O’Donnell currently serves as “CBS Evening News” anchor after replacing Jeff Glor earlier this month.

Pelley had warmer words for Rhodes and Fager’s replacements, new CBS News President Susan Zirinsky and “60 Minutes” executive producer Bill Owens. He also praised Moonves’ replacement, interim CEO Joseph Ianniello, whom he called “a visionary leader.”

“It’s all blue sky from here,” he said. “I know these people and I know we’re on the right track.”

However, a CBS spokesperson said that “Scott was expressing his own opinion. We disagree. CBS News has been working hard to advocate for an inclusive, safe and dignified workplace for everyone at CBS News and Scott has been a supporter of these efforts.”

Pelley did not respond to TheWrap’s request for further comment.

Watch Pelley’s interview on CNN in the clip above.

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