CBS: Dunn, Friend Will Not Return As Investigation Continues

CBS Stations President Peter Dunn and Senior Vice President of News David Friend will not be returning to their positions. They were placed on administrative leave in January following allegations of racist, homophobic and sexist behavior. CBS2's Mary Calvi reports.

Video Transcript

- CBS Stations president Peter Dunn and Senior Vice President of News David Friend will not be returning to their positions. They were placed on administrative leave in January following allegations of racist, homophobic, and sexist behavior.

- In an email to employees, president and CEO of CBS Entertainment Group George Cheeks wrote, we have determined that CBS Stations President Peter Dunn and SVP of News David Friend are not returning to their positions and will be leaving the company. I want to be very clear that the external investigation is not over and will continue.

Following a January "Los Angeles Times" story alleging sexism, racism, and homophobia by CBS executives Dunn and Friend, the two, who ran 28 local CBS stations, were placed on administrative leave. The article focused largely on CBS station KYW-TV in Philadelphia, reviewing allegations that Dunn and Friend cultivated a hostile work environment that included bullying female managers and blocking efforts to hire and retain Black journalists.

According to the administrative filings obtained by the "LA Times," anchor Ukee Washington, a 30-year veteran at KYW, was a victim of Dunn's disparaging insults. Former employees told "The Times," Dunn frequently belittled Washington, referring to him as just a jive guy. He's also accused of calling one morning anchor candidate too gay for Philadelphia.

Friend, Dunn's right-hand man, also the news director for WCBS in New York, was accused of being verbally abusive in the workplace. CBS internally investigated Dunn in 2019 and said back in January, senior management at the time addressed the situation with him but had not had new complaints since then. Peter Dunn's attorney said, while CBS has stated it has terminated Peter, it is not for cause, but rather about a loss of trust regarding yet to be investigated allegations. They continued to pay him under his contract. We are confident that the investigation will exonerate Peter and are prepared to fully cooperate. But the opportunity to do so has not yet occurred.

David Friend's attorney responded stating, David Friend's separation from CBS was, as the company itself acknowledges, without any finding that he engaged in the misconduct alleged. After two months, the investigation is ongoing. David has yet to be interviewed. And he is confident that, when it concludes, the accusations will be proven false. Wednesday night, CBS said, while we won't comment on the specifics of an ongoing investigation, it is clear to us that this action is appropriate and necessary at this time. Any decision regarding termination for cause will be made at the conclusion of the investigation.

- Both men oversaw WCBS-TV here in New York. Again, the investigation is ongoing.