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A former longtime CBS executive is speaking out about the network’s lack of diversity in a lengthy op-ed for Variety published Tuesday, detailing several examples of racial discrimination and workplace misconduct.

Whitney Davis joined CBS News in 2006 as Director, CBS Entertainment Diversity & Inclusion before her departure earlier this year. In the piece, she slams the independent investigation into the toxic workplace culture amid the sexual misconduct scandal against former CEO Les Moonves, for overlooking systemic racism and discrimination within the company.

“The company has a white problem across the board,” Davis writes. “Did you know that there’s not one black creative executive working at CBS Television Network or CBS Television Studios?”

Davis, went on to give examples of misconduct during her time at CBS, including one incident where a co-worker said “My dad has f–ed black women, and he loved it.”

She also detailed an incident in 2009 where then-national editor Bill Felling refused to cover the costs for her to travel out of the country to cover a story, telling her  “I’m not going to waste the company’s money for you to go there and fail.”

The white folks in the office also found it challenging to remember the name of another Black female staffer in the news room, opting instead on calling both women We-Dra — short for Whitney and Deidra.

Davis claims to have been passed over for promotions many times as her white colleagues were often propped up and elevated to that next level.

“Although I couldn’t confirm that my career had been sabotaged, I felt as though I had hit a glass ceiling working in news,” says Davis.

Davis also calls out Peter Golden, head of network casting and talent, for overlooking actors of color in favor of white ones. “It is my opinion that Peter Golden doesn’t find minority performers to be as talented as white actors,” she said.

Golden denied her comment in a statement to Variety, saying: “The claims and innuendos made about me by Ms. Davis are categorically untrue. Approximately eight years ago, Ms. Davis was a trainee in my department for the customary three- to -four-month period provided under CBS’ management training program. While it is certainly possible that I may have reviewed headshots in front of Ms. Davis, her claim that I systematically dismissed diverse actors is patently false. In addition, and contrary to her assertions, the Comedy Diversity Showcase has resulted in numerous guest and series regular roles on CBS shows for the participants. Throughout my career in casting, I have always been a vigorous advocate for all actors. Ms. Davis’ implications are completely contrary to who I am personally and professionally.”

Responding to Davis’ allegations in Variety, a CBS spokesperson said: “During her time at CBS, Whitney was a valued team member of the News and Entertainment divisions. She was selected for a management-training program, promoted several times, and was given high-profile assignments. While we disagree with some statements in Whitney’s story, we take all employee concerns seriously and remain committed to improving the workplace experience for everyone.

“CBS leadership has made strengthening our culture a top priority. Over the past several months, we have announced plans to devote considerable resources to critical areas such as ethics, compliance, diversity and inclusion, and human resources, including creating a centralized employee relations function to respond to workplace issues,” the statement continued. “Employees are CBS’ most important resource, and providing them with a safe, fair, inclusive and positive work environment is paramount to our continued success.”

During her time with the company, Davis said she was often the only person of color in meetings. “In fact, there was not one black creative executive at the network. Today, the only black female executive at CBS Entertainment oversees diversity and inclusion.”

You can read her full op-ed here.

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8 thoughts on “Former Black, Female CBS Executive Slams Network For Having ‘A White Problem’

  1. lost job no problem..ᴍʏ ʟᴀsᴛ ᴍᴏɴᴛʜ ᴘᴀʏᴄʜᴇᴄᴋ ᴡᴀs ғᴏʀ 𝟷𝟷𝟶𝟶𝟶 ᴅᴏʟʟᴀʀs… ᴀʟʟ ɪ ᴅɪᴅ ᴡᴀs sɪᴍᴘʟᴇ ᴏɴʟɪɴᴇ ᴡᴏʀᴋ ғʀᴏᴍ ᴄᴏᴍғᴏʀᴛ ᴀᴛ ʜᴏᴍᴇ ғᴏʀ 𝟹-𝟺 ʜᴏᴜʀs/ᴅᴀʏ ᴛʜᴀᴛ ɪ ɢᴏᴛ ғʀᴏᴍ ᴛʜɪs ᴀɢᴇɴᴄʏ ɪ ᴅɪsᴄᴏᴠᴇʀᴇᴅ ᴏᴠᴇʀ ᴛʜᴇ ɪɴᴛᴇʀɴᴇᴛ ᴀɴᴅ ᴛʜᴇʏ ᴘᴀɪᴅ ᴍᴇ ғᴏʀ ɪᴛ 𝟿𝟻 ʙᴜᴄᴋs ᴇᴠᴇʀʏ ʜᴏᴜʀ… ᴛʀʏ ɪᴛ ʏᴏᴜʀsᴇʟғ . See More

  2. I believe Ms. Davis’ story and I’m not really surprised.
    Kudo’s to her for exposing CBS and their lack of DIVERSITY and INCLUSION.

    CBS executives need to evolve into the 21st CENTURY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Their Good Ole white boys MENTALITY NEEDS TO CHANGE.

  3. African American Woman on said:

    This goes for anyone who loses their job and then comes out with scathing reports of how bad things were…if you know and see these things happening, why do you only say anything after you lose your job? Shouldn’t they have been just as alarming??? Or is money and status enough to buy silence and apathy? Lots of people seem to do this.

    • Loving on said:

      It is obvious that you have not ever worked in corporate america. She would not have lasted as long as she did had she reported this sooner. I believe her and I too thank her for coming forward. She is a mother and has to support her family as well. The exposure has to be strategic …if not THEY will FIND something to get rid of you with.

      • African American Woman on said:

        Uhhhhh I am a Director of Network Management at the largest health insurance company in SE PA. Beats your low level job, I’m sure. I left my last job of 16 years because the culture had become incredibly toxic and unbearable. I made a decision for myself not to put up with what I encountered. Sometimes you have to cut your losses and move on. Bitching after the fact isn’t going to change anything. And I walked away from $150,000 a year with bonuses and never looked back. Life isn’t always fair ; that’s just what it is.

      • African American Woman on said:

        Uhhhhh I am a Director of Network Management at the largest health insurance company in SE PA. Beats your low level job, I’m sure. I left my last job of 16 years because the culture had become incredibly toxic and unbearable. I made a decision for myself not to put up with what I encountered. Sometimes you have to cut your losses and move on. Bitching after the fact isn’t going to change anything. And I walked away from $150,000 a year with bonuses and never looked back. Life isn’t always fair ; that’s just what it is.

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