60 Minutes Veteran Producer Allegedly Sent Unsolicited, Lewd Photo to Show’s Associate Producer

By A.J. Katz Comment

UPDATE: Tuesday evening.

CBS News sent out the following statement:

CBS News is in the process of reviewing the complaint filed by Ms. Vinograd and plans to vigorously defend against this lawsuit.

CBS thoroughly and immediately investigated the matter in accordance with its policies. Subsequently, Ms. Vinograd asked to no longer work with Mr. Gavshon and CBS has made every reasonable effort to honor this request. CBS News vehemently denies there was any retaliation.

With respect to the photo mentioned, Mr. Gavshon is releasing a statement. (below).

Below, a statement from 60 Minutes senior producer Michael Gavshon, and it’s an interesting one:

At the end of September, I was speaking to my sister in Johannesburg on Whatsapp. She and my elderly mother had returned from the funeral of a childhood friend. We were reminiscing and we decided to share some pictures of him. I sent her a picture of me with my friend who had just died and two others burning our school notebooks after our final high school exams. I was 17 years old at the time. In the photo, my friend who passed away and I were urinating on the fire – it was an act of immature adolescent rebellion 46 years ago.

An hour later, to my horror, I realized that I not only sent it to my sister, but I had accidentally included my colleague, Cassandra Vinograd, the associate producer with whom I work at 60 Minutes in London. I immediately deleted the picture and apologized profusely. I was mortified. The following day I went in early and reported the incident. I cooperated with an investigation by the company and was told not to come into work during the course of the investigation. I continue to regret this mistake and sincerely apologize for it.

I also want to refute Ms. Vinograd’s allegations regarding drinking and add that I have an established record of responsible behavior at work over the last thirty years.

__________

ORIGINAL POST:

CBS is back in the news for all the wrong reasons.

This morning, Wigdor LLP filed a gender discrimination and retaliation complaint against the network on behalf of London-based 60 Minutes associate producer Cassandra Vinograd, who’s alleging that she received an inappropriate and unsolicited photo from her boss, 60 Minutes producer Michael Gavshon, a 34-year veteran of CBS News.

According to Jeanne Christensen, a partner at Wigdor, Vinograd emailed human resources and legal at CBS to request an investigation into the incident as well as Gavshon’s excessive alcohol use during work hours and while traveling for work.  Claiming that HR objectively looked into the situation, as alleged, CBS allegedly told Vinograd that the photo was a “mistake” and that her claim of his excessive alcohol use was not corroborated.

Christensen states that Gavshon blatantly has retaliated against Vinograd since she reported the photo by stripping her of all her work responsibilities.  Meanwhile, as alleged, CBS has failed to give Vinograd a single assignment and has done nothing to redress Gavshon’s retaliatory conduct.

“We look forward to holding CBS accountable for its unlawful conduct as alleged in the complaint by our client Cassandra Vinograd,” Christensen said in a statement. “Contrary to CBS’s claims that it is doing the right thing when female employees report gender-related misconduct, as alleged, it appears that no meaningful changes to the culture at CBS have been made.  It appears that CBS continues to protect senior male talent at the expense of junior women — business as usual.”

CBS News has yet to respond to a request for comment.

Wigdor LLP is an elite employment litigation firm that has become increasingly well-known in media circles during the #MeToo era. The firm has represented many current and former Fox News staffers in various discrimination lawsuits against Fox. The firm has also represented NY1 female anchors in their gender discrimination lawsuits against parent company Charter Communications. Now, the firm is representing a 60 Minutes producer in her fight against CBS Broadcasting.

Here’s the complaint:

Cassandra Vinograd complaint Against CBS

CBS has a lengthy, ugly track record when it comes to issues of harassment.

Last year, 12 women accused former CBS Corp. chairman and CEO Les Moonves of sexual harassment and intimidation in a pair of Ronan Farrow stories for the New Yorker that were published in July 2018 and November 2018.

Moonves left CBS Corp. more than a month after the first story was published, on Sept. 9, 2018 after a 23-year run at the company. Moonves had served as CEO for nearly half of that run.

There have also been allegations of harassment on Survivor, the CBS series Bull, and of course, there have been the well-documented problems in the news division.

Charlie Rose was fired from CBS News (and PBS) in November 2017, one day after the Washington Post’s Irin Carmon and Amy Brittain reported that 8 women had accused Rose of sexual harassment at multiple networks, spanning decades.

Then-60 Minutes executive producer Jeff Fager was fired by CBS a year later after threatening CBS News correspondent Jericka Duncan via text after he found out she was investigating past allegations of sexual harassment that had been outlined in the July 2018 Farrow story. A CBS intern told Farrow that Fager groped her at a work party.

CBS News president Susan Zirinsky promoted Fager’s No. 2, Bill Owens, to the role of 60 Minutes executive producer earlier this year.

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