60 Minutes‘ Scott Pelley: I Was Axed From the CBS Evening News Over My Complaints of a ‘Hostile Work Environment’
CBS News veteran Scott Pelley, who formerly served as the anchor of the CBS Evening News, claims he was let go from that position because he spoke out against what he deemed to be a “hostile work environment.”
Appearing Sunday on CNN’s Reliable Sources, Pelley blasted “incompetent management” at the network and claimed that his complaints about the environment at CBS News ultimately cost him his job as Evening News anchor.
“We’ve been through a dark period of the last several years of incompetent management and sort of a hostile work environment within the news division,” Pelley said of CBS. “I lost my job at the Evening News because I wouldn’t stop complaining to management about the hostile work environment.”
Among the scandals which have rocked CBS News, former 60 Minutes executive producer Jeff Fager departed the network after sending a disturbing text message to reporter Jericka Duncan — who was reporting on allegations of sexual misconduct against him. Also, former CBS This Morning anchor Charlie Rose was the subject of a number of sexual misconduct allegations.
Elaborating on his claim that he was dumped because of his complaints to management, Pelley appeared to point the finger at former news division president David Rhodes, Fager, and ousted CBS chief Leslie Moonves — who, himself, faced a series of misconduct allegations.
“Four or five years ago, I went to the president of the news division and explained to him that this hostile work environment couldn’t go on for women and men,” Pelley said. “And he told me if I kept ago agitating about that internally, then I’d lose my job. I went to his boss who told me that he didn’t share my concerns. And so, having exhausted the possibilities in the news division, I went to the chairman of the CBS corporation, who listened to me very concerned for an hour. Asked me some penetrating questions about what was going on. I didn’t hear back from him. But in the next opportunity in my contract, I was let go from the Evening News.”
Pelley’s claims were disputed by Rhodes — who was contacted by the Daily Beast.
“That simply never happened,” Rhodes said. “And if he had those conversations about this with anybody, it wasn’t with me.”
In a statement given to CNN, a CBS News spokesperson disputed Pelley’s claims.
“Scott was expressing his own opinion. We disagree. CBS News has been working hard to advocate for an inclusive, safe and dignified workplace for everyone at CBS News and Scott has been a supporter of these efforts.”
Pelley told CNN Sunday he believes times have changed at the network — citing newly-minted CBS News president Susan Zirinsky among several executives he believes have or will change the culture.
“It is all blue sky from here,” Pelley said. “I’m very excited.”
Watch above, via CNN.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this post incorrectly credited The Hollywood Reporter with first obtaining the CBS News statement. It was first published by CNN.
Have a tip we should know? firstname.lastname@example.org