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The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) does not want to see network giant CBS stop short with the firing of two executives accused of racist and abusive behavior.

Pressure from NABJ led CBS to suspend CBS Stations President Peter Dunn and SVP of News David Friend in January.

“After multiple meetings with CBS leadership about these allegations and our calling for the firing of Dunn and Friend in January, NABJ encourages the company to use this opportunity to immediately bring in permanent leadership, policies and procedures that will transform its reported toxic culture into one that promotes and demands diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) at every level of operations at its networks and owned and operated stations,” NABJ Vice President-Broadcast Ken Lemon said in a statement.

The journalist association said CBS needs to prioritize implementing a strategy to have DEI in place within the media organization. 

NABJ wants CBS to establish meaningful actions showing a “commitment to eradicate and uproot the type of egregious behavior and practices that countless employees around the country have reported and experienced for years.” The association called for such actions to be documented publicly. 

A Los Angeles Times investigation found reports that Dunn and Friend obstructed hiring of Black reporters and bullying women managers. The Los Angeles Times also uncovered a Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission complaint alleging “racist, sexist, homophobic and discriminatory comments.” 

NABJ previously called on CBS to release employees from nondisclosure agreements so that they could share a full account of their experiences. “As journalists, we should always stand for transparency and openness,” said NABJ Executive Director Drew Berry in January. “The public counts on us to bring light to such situations, whether in government, corporate America or other areas that impact the communities we serve. Media companies are not immune from such scrutiny.”

Generally considered a normal business practice, nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) have come under scrutiny as a way to cover up abusive behavior. While it may be understandable for a company to not want former employees sharing their trade secrets, using the forms to hide bad behavior only allows for toxic cultures to persist. 

Justice League’s Ray Fisher initially said an NDA prevented him from elaborating on abuse experienced by Joss Whedon. Fisher recently confirmed he was no longer bound by an NDA.


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