ABC News exec fired following an investigation into racist comments
Reports claim that the network spent millions of dollars in confidential settlements for at least 12 claims of discrimination against Barbara Fedida
ABC News Executive, Barbara Fedida, has been fired after an investigation into her racist comments found a history of discriminatory remarks.
Fedida worked at ABC News for close to two decades. Her most recent position held was Senior Vice President for Talent and Business.
According to the New York Times, Fedida was accused of making numerous racially insensitive comments throughout her career.
One of her comments pertained to Good Morning America co-host, Robin Roberts. Fedida sarcastically made a “pick[ing] cotton” remark to other executives in reference to the noted African American journalist during the period when she was renegotiating her contract.
She also allegedly called The View co-host, Sunny Hostin, “low rent.”
ABC News placed Fedida on administrative leave while investigating the claims against her.
“The investigation substantiated that Ms. Fedida did make some of the unacceptable racially insensitive comments attributed to her,” said a spokesperson from ABC News.
In her role, Fedida served as a gatekeeper, which allowed for her work to directly impact the culture of the company. According to FOX News, Fedida was responsible for helping to elevate diversity at the network. However, due to at least 12 claims of discrimination against her, ABC News spent millions of dollars in confidential settlements.
The allegations against Fedida were initially brought to light by an article published on HuffPost by Yashar Ali on June 13.
The National Association of Black Journalist (NABJ) issued a demand letter on June 13. NABJ called for ABC News/Disney to do a thorough investigation into the allegations against Fedida led by a diverse law firm.
“We demand that there be immediate redress for those who have been wronged. We want an African American to be put in charge of the network’s diversity-in-hiring program. ABC News/Disney must hire an outside consultant to assess the culture, work environment, and policies at ABC News,” wrote NABJ.
According to ABC News, the investigation into Fedida uncovered the “rough manner,” in which she managed. All claims against Fedida were not substantiated following this investigation. However, based on their findings ABC News/ Disney moved forward with her termination.
“Although Ms. Fedida made contributions to the organization over the 20-year span of her career, in light of the overall findings, we have determined that she can no longer serve in a leadership role and will not be returning to ABC News,” said ABC News.
Due to how she “wielded the power,” ABC News/ Disney is working to restructure the role previously held by Fedida.
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