Live by identity politics, die by identity politics. Especially when a disgruntled former employee has what she believes to be a very legitimate identity-politics axe to grind.
Whitney Davis spent about 15 years in CBS’s news and entertainment divisions. Apparently they were not happy years. And her reason is embodied in the headline of a just-published article she wrote for Variety Magazine:
‘CBS Has a White Problem’: Executive Blasts Toxic Culture at Network in Explosive Letter
Ms. Davis has written a very lengthy, apparently heart-felt piece detailing the reasons for that headline – one you should read in its entirety. Meanwhile, however, here are just a few key paragraphs .
In February, I decided to part ways with CBS, the corporation where I began my media career and most recently served as director of entertainment diversity and inclusion. Last fall, when sexual-misconduct allegations against then-CEO Leslie Moonves prompted an outside investigation into the CBS workplace culture, I assumed that all forms of discrimination would be delved into. The attorneys I spoke with did not lead me to believe otherwise. I was eager to tell my story and grateful that two independent law firms were brought in to conduct interviews with several hundred employees. By sharing my experience, I hoped to shed desperately needed light on the truth that CBS, sadly, doesn’t value a diverse workplace.
The company has a white problem across the board. Did you know that there’s not one black creative executive working at CBS Television Network or CBS Television Studios? Of the network’s 36 creative executives — all upper management roles that deal with content development, casting, current production, daytime and alternative programming — there are only three women of color, none black. There is not one executive of color working in casting at CBS. The one Latinx executive hired in casting last year lasted eight months. He works at Netflix now.
There were two black women working in production on the broadcast — myself and another. We both held the lowest-ranking positions on staff. Not uncommon in most predominantly white institutions, most of our white colleagues had trouble keeping our names straight. As a joke, they began to call us We-Dra — short for Whitney and Deidra. In every job I’ve had at CBS, co-workers have confused me with other black women in the office, as if we’re interchangeable. I don’t think most people understand just how demeaning these daily micro-aggressions are. Or maybe they do and don’t care.
Last fall’s external investigation failed to address discrimination, gender bias and inappropriate behavior, although we were told it would. The leaked report emphasized sexual misconduct while failing to address the totality of problems at the corporation. We should all be outraged that CBS has opted to ignore its rampant discrimination issues and lack of inclusion.
Does Ms. Davis have a valid point? Or is she one of what I have called the POPPO crowd – Professionally Oppressed, Perpetually Pissed Off? Or something in between?
Well, you’ve seen the excerpts and you have a link to the article. It’s your call.
It should also be pointed out that CBS, and two of the people she cited have responded to this article. article.
I’m not posting it because, in fairness to Variety, I would like you to give the magazine net traffic by using the link I’ve provided to read it.
As with Ms. Davis’s article, it’s your call.