A former CBS employee named Erin Gee has filed a federal suit in Manhattan against the broadcasting company for alleged sexual discrimination. According to Gee, at one point during her 17-year employment with the network, she was told by a boss to sleep with a coworker to “break the ice.”
Gee spoke with the New York Post, alleging that in 2011 she went to Robert Klug, her supervisor on CBS Evening News, to discuss a dispute she was having with a video editor:
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 went to an executive producer to discuss the incident, but “nothing was done.” In 2015, Gee filed a formal complaint with CBS, citing this and other offenses she says were sexist, after which Gee was then demoted to working on the weekend newscast. The network explained the demotion as punishment for “behavioral problems,” but she says she’d never been notified of any issues prior to the demotion.
CBS has denied Gee’s allegations:
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 nondiscriminatory and nonretaliatory manner,” the spokeswoman said.
Gee eventually quit and went to work elsewhere in television. Her suit is seeking unspecified damages.
“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.