PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — CBS Station President Peter Dunn and Senior Vice President of News David Friend will not be returning to their positions and will be leaving ViacomCBS, the company announced Wednesday. They were placed on leave after a Los Angeles Times article detailed accusations of “racist” and “sexist” comments about employees, including staff at CBS3.
In a statement Wednesday afternoon, Dunn’s attorney said, “We are disappointed in the ruling but CBS has not found any wrongdoing in relation to Peter Dunn. The termination is without cause and Peter continues to be paid according to his contract. We hope that in the future he will be fully exonerated.”READ MORE: Dianna Brice Murder: Tylydiah Garnett Arrested In Connection To Murder Of 21-Year-Old Dianna Brice, Police Say
CBS responded in a statement, saying, “While we won’t comment on the specifics of an ongoing investigation, it is clear to us that this action is appropriate and necessary at this time. Any decision regarding termination for ‘Cause’ will be made at the conclusion of the investigation.”
In a statement Thursday morning, Friend’s attorney said, “David Friend’s separation from CBS was, as the company itself acknowledges, without any finding that he engaged in the misconduct alleged. That critical fact should be reported accurately. After two months, the investigation is ongoing – David has yet to be interviewed – and he is confident that, when it concludes, the accusations will be proven false. Mr. Friend is incredibly proud of the success he achieved during his 14 years at CBS. Throughout his career as an award-winning and respected journalist, he fought for the people in his news departments and battled powerful politicians and interest groups, fighting for justice for his viewers and their communities. He has been a tough and even-handed leader who has been privileged to support numerous colleagues in their careers and promote diversity in CBS’s newsrooms and in its newscasts. He is defined by his successes and buoyed by the numerous colleagues, mentees, and employees that have reached out to offer tremendous support and encouragement over the last few months. This support was a clear reminder of what a past (and previously reported) investigation found – that he is a tough but fair boss. He is confident that at its conclusion, this current investigation will find the same. Mr. Friend knows he has been immensely blessed in his 43-year career. He looks forward to what’s next and will enthusiastically pursue the future with honor, integrity, and a continued commitment to excellence.”
In January, Friend said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times, “These comments I may have made about our employees or prospective hires were only based on performance or qualifications — not about anyone’s race or gender.”READ MORE: Pennsylvania To Expand COVID-19 Eligibility To Everyone In Phase 1C Beginning Monday
He also said that he and CBS Stations had a strong track record of hiring and supporting women and journalists of color.
The external investigation is ongoing.
ViacomCBS owns CBS3.MORE NEWS: Man Injured In North Philadelphia Shooting: Police