An ex-CBS News employee claims that her boss advised her to “have sex” with a colleague to handle their workplace dispute.
The New York post reports that the allegation came from Erin Gee, who worked at the network for 17 years. She alleges that CBS Evening News boss, Robert Klug, told her that she “should ‘have sex’ with [the] video editor who had been difficult to work with to ‘break the ice’,” according to court documents.
“I couldn’t believe that was his advice. I was looking for help, and he looked at me like, ‘You don’t matter, and this is what you should do to make this guy like you,'” said Gee.
She said that she reported the incident to a senior producer on the program, “who told her at the time that he let the executive producer know about it,’’ her lawyer, Kevin Mintzer said. “But nothing was done.’’
In 2015, Gee filed a formal complaint reporting Klug’s comments and other instances of alleged sexism.
“All I wanted was the same opportunities that were being given to the men. In my nearly 20 years at CBS, I never saw a female director direct the evening news,” she said.
However, after she filed the complaint, Gee was demoted according to court papers. She was told she was being disciplined for “behavioural problems,” although Gee claims she was not made aware of these issues. Eventually, she quit and found another job in the industry.
“My situation demonstrates why woman are afraid to speak up,’’ Gee said. “When they do, they’re often punished for it.”
The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) dismissed her discrimination claim in March, saying it was “unable to conclude that the information obtained establishes a violation of the statutes.” However, the EEOC still issued a right to sue.
A CBS spokeswoman called Gee’s allegations “wholly without merit, including those directed toward Mr. Klug. Contrary to those allegations, Ms. Gee was treated in a non-discriminatory and non-retaliatory manner.”
Klug did not return calls seeking comment.