CBS-TV has ousted Peter Dunn, who served as president of the TV Stations group since 2009, and David Friend, senior vice president of news for more than a decade, are no longer part of CBS, the company’s chief executive, George Cheeks, announced Wednesday in an email to staff.
The L-A Times reports the move comes two months after an investigation by the Los Angeles Times alleged that the pair cultivated an environment that included bullying female managers and blocking efforts to hire and retain Black journalists. The Times’ series shined a harsh light on an often overlooked corner of the company that lacks the prestige of the CBS television network but remains a vital source of local news for millions of Americans.
Dozens of current and former staff members in Los Angeles, Dallas, Boston, Chicago, Miami, Philadelphia and New York have complained of a hostile work environment. Journalists in New York alleged that managers often made news coverage decisions that neglected communities of color. The flagship WCBS station in New York — one of the nation’s most diverse cities — lacked a full-time Black male reporter until March 2020, the same month that Cheeks, who is biracial, took the reins at CBS.
The series also raised questions about a $55-million purchase of a TV station on New York’s Long Island — the only station acquisition during Dunn’s 11-year tenure overseeing CBS’ station group. The 2011 deal came with privileges for Dunn and other high-level CBS executives at an ultra-exclusive golf club in the Hamptons, where they hobnobbed with billionaires.
In January, CBS called the Long Island station purchase a “strategic acquisition” that created value by giving the broadcaster two stations in New York, the nation’s largest media market, and that Dunn’s membership was disclosed in advance to senior management and legal counsel.
The Philadelphia Business-Journal reports CBS confirmed the fate of Peter Dunn, president of CBS Television Stations, and David Friend, senior vice president of news for the network’s owned-and-operated stations. The two have been on administrative leave since late January, after the Los Angeles Times reported that former station executives said the two created a hostile working environment at CBS3 (KYW-TV).
They were accused of fostering a corporate culture in which female managers were bullied and Black journalists were denied opportunities. CBS placed them on leave while New York law firm Proskauer Rose conducted an investigation.