CHICAGO (CBS) — An investigation has been making headlines this week involving the company that owns our station, CBS 2.
Two longtime CBS Network executives are on administrative leave, accused of racist and sexist behavior. CBS 2’s Jim Williams reported Tuesday on the troubling allegations.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: 90s Return Thursday
The two executives are Peter Dunn, CBS Television Stations President and David Friend, Senior Vice President of News for the stations and also news director for WCBS-TV, CBS 2 New York.
The National Association of Black Journalists is calling for both to be fired.
“You cannot change this culture, you cannot hear these stories of toxic environment of racism, of unequal pay and how folks have been treated and you not cut the head off and not completely restart over,” said NABJ Vice President Roland Martin.
The Los Angeles Times first broke the story Sunday after it obtained legal papers from a former employee of KYW-TV, CBS 3 in Philadelphia. They describe Dunn repeatedly disparaging veteran anchor Ukee Washington, who’s Black. It’s alleged Dunn said Washington was “jive” and “all he does is dance.”
It’s alleged CBS executive David Friend was angry about the hiring of KYW morning anchor Brooke Thomas. According to a former KYW news director, Friend was “just venom and profanity. He screamed, “Tell her to shut the (expletive) up.” The station fired Thomas just months later.READ MORE: Police: Shots Fired At CPD Officers From Car In West Garfield Park; Officer Fires Back, But No One Hit
Later, Dunn, it is alleged, objected to extending the contract of Rahel Soloman, who replaced Thomas, because, quote, “I hate her face.”
The LA Times also reports WBBM-TV, CBS 2 Chicago’s former president and general manager Marty Wilke was forced out by Dunn in 2018. The newspaper quoting Wilke as saying “the culture starts and stops with Peter Dunn.”
Dunn declined to comment to the LA Times. But Friend told the newspaper, “These comments I may have made about our employees or prospective hires were only based on performance or qualifications, not about anyone’s race or gender.”
NABJ’s Roland Martin said the racism African Americans face is a problem across the media landscape.
“The problem is we’re the ones who are supposed to shine a light on these things. And if media is unwilling to look at themselves, if you want to look at everyone else, no, that’s not going to work. There has to be transparency and media should be leading and looking at their institutions,” Martin said.
CBS 2 reached out to our former president and general manager Wilke, who said she’d have no further comment. CBS Entertainment CEO and president George Cheeks promises to “foster a positive and inclusive” workplace at the network and said there will be an independent investigation into the allegations.MORE NEWS: Asha Mosi Believes Her Clothing Company, 'Un-Cursed,' Can Be Catalyst For Powerful Change For Black Families -- And She Wants To Take It Beyond Clothes
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