The Philadelphia chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association is disturbed and dismayed by a recent Los Angeles Times report that CBS Television Stations executives allegedly “cultivated a hostile work environment that included bullying female managers and blocking efforts to hire and retain Black journalists,” and potentially retaliated against employees who spoke out against these issues, across its stations and at CBS3 in particular.
The CBS executives’ racist, sexist and homophobic comments and actions reported in the Times are totally unacceptable and cannot be excused as mere evaluations of employee performance. Local stations’ attempts to diversify their newsrooms should not be thwarted by the subjective whims of out-of-town managers.
AAJA Philadelphia stands in solidarity with the station’s current and former Black journalists, journalists of color, and women journalists of color in particular, some of whom have additional stories of discrimination but are unable to speak out in fear of retaliation from the network. The Times’ report indicates that such fears are well founded, so CBS must transparently investigate these issues and must ensure that employees who come forward will be protected and not penalized. CBS must also acknowledge that the journalists of color at CBS3 now carry the additional burden of restoring their station’s reputation among the public, even though they were not the ones who sullied it.
We echo the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists and the Philadelphia chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists in urging CBS Television Stations and CBS3 to examine how their employees have been treated and how they will change managerial and hiring structures to ensure equitable opportunities for journalists of color. But we caution that diversifying station talent and leadership will not result in change if a single network executive is able to micromanage local decisions based on his own subjective prejudices against qualified journalists of color.
AAJA Philadelphia welcomes the opportunity to meet with station and network leadership to create a concrete plan that addresses these issues.
The national AAJA organization also urges CBS Television Stations and parent ViacomCBS to hold its leaders accountable and fulfill the company’s stated commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. Read their statement here.
AAJA Philadelphia board:
Tim Tai, president
Juliana F. Reyes, treasurer
Hannah Chinn, secretary
Jess Bond, vice president for student engagement
Bethany Ao, national board representative