What has already been a bad week and a half of press for CBS appears to have just gotten worse.
The New York Times’ Rachel Abrams and John Koblin got a hold of a draft of the investigation into the culture of 60 Minutes, and published a story last night saying that the investigators have found that because 60 Minutes is independent from the rest of the news division (its offices are literally separate from the rest of the news division, located down the street from the CBS Broadcast Center), the network has “permitted misconduct by some 60 Minutes employees.”
The investigators found longtime 60 Minutes executive producer Jeff Fager to have “engaged in certain acts of sexual misconduct” (allegiations which Fager has denied in the past), and was appropriately fired on September 12 for threatening CBS News reporter Jericka Duncan for trying to cover the story, the Times stated.
According to the story from Abrams and Koblin, the culture at 60 Minutes was even worse under Fager’s predecessor, mentor, and original 60 Minutes executive producer Don Hewitt, who died in 2009, investigators found.
CBS is still paying out a settlement reached in the 1990s to a woman who alleged that Hewitt sexually assaulted her on multiple occasions and destroyed her career. The settlement has exceeed $5 million, “plus annual payments of $75,000 for the rest of her life,” reported the Times.
CBS News declined to comment on the Times story last night.
The board apparently still hasn’t seen the investigators’ report, but it’s yet another example of news about CBS being leaked to the press, something CBS president and acting CEO Joseph Ianniello has become frustrated by, according to a report in Variety published earlier in the day.
In a memo to staff, Ianniello writes: “It’s frustrating that confidential information from the ongoing investigation made its way to the public before management and the board knew about it — and importantly, before we could communicate with all of you. And while we still don’t yet know the actual results, I do understand that the investigation is nearing an end.”