Former CBS producer Erin Gee has made public a federal lawsuit she filed alleging sex discrimination during her 17-year tenure with the media outlet.
Gee said that, when she spoke with her boss about difficulty working with a co-worker, she was advised to have sex with him.
“I was in a state of shock,” Gee said.
The New York Postreported:
Gee said one of the most offensive incidents occurred in 2011 when she was talking with her boss at “CBS Evening News,” Robert Klug, about a workplace dispute.
Klug, now 58, said “she should ‘have sex’ with [the] video editor who had been difficult to work with to ‘break the ice,’” according to court papers.
“I couldn’t believe that was his advice,” Gee said. “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.’”
Gee said she reported this exchange to a senior producer, “who told her at the time that he let the executive producer know about it,’’ said her lawyer, Kevin Mintzer. “But nothing was done.’’
Gee says she filed a formal complaint with CBS in 2015, which included Klug’s comments, as well as other claims of alleged sexism.
“All I wanted was the same opportunities that were being given to the men,” Gee said. “In my nearly 20 years at CBS, I never saw a female director direct the evening news.”
Gee was demoted to a weekend shift after she filed the complaint, but Klug was eventually promoted.
Gee said her experience is one of the reasons why women are hesitant to come forward and make charges of sexual harassment or discrimination.
“My situation demonstrates why woman are afraid to speak up,’’ Gee said. “When they do, they’re often punished for it.”
The Post reported that a CBS spokeswoman called Gee’s claims “wholly without merit, including those directed toward Mr. Klug.”
“Contrary to those allegations, Ms. Gee was treated in a nondiscriminatory and nonretaliatory manner,” the spokeswoman said.
The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) dismissed Gee’s discrimination claim in March, saying it was “unable to conclude that the information obtained establishes a violation of the statutes,” the Post reported.
But the EEOC still issued a right to sue, which is required under federal law, the Post reported.
These new allegations follow others against men in the media who have been accused of sexual misconduct, including Charlie Rose of CBS and PBS; Glenn Thrush, White House Correspondent for the New York Times; Michael Oreskes, senior vice president and editorial director at National Public Radio; NBC’s Mark Halperin; Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi; and The New Republic’sHamilton Fish and Leon Wieseltier.