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An associate producer for CBS News’ “60 Minutes” sued the network for gender discrimination on Tuesday, claiming she was punished for attempting to report misconduct after her boss sent an inappropriate photo of himself urinating on smoldering coal.
Cassandra Vinograd claimed she received the “inappropriate and unsolicited photo” from her boss, “60 Minutes” senior producer Michael Gavshon, whom she also accused of excessive drinking. The photo showed two men putting out smoking coal by urinating on it, with their penises visible. Gavshon later said he was 17 at the time of the photo.
The article goes on to state the following:
“Despite paying lip service about purging men that behave badly and assuring female employees that their voices will be heard, respected and protected, this case shows that nothing has changed and legitimate progress towards eliminating sexual harassment at CBS remains elusive,” the complaint, filed in New York County, said.
According to the lawsuit, Cassie was “disgusted, uncomfortable and scared” when the photo came up on her phone.
“Gavshon controlled her fate at CBS,” the suit alleges. “Regardless of the photo being of Gavshon in much younger days, it was creepy and gross to receive a picture of her boss’s penis and urine stream.”
Instead of conducting an “impartial investigation” or protecting her, Cassie was “ostracized, isolated and penalized for calling out what she perceived as inappropriate conduct,” the suit says. She was removed from stories in production, “including a segment she had pitched and performed the majority of the work on.”
CBS News said they were reviewing the complaint and will “vigorously defend against this lawsuit.”
“CBS thoroughly and immediately investigated the matter in accordance with its policies,” the network said. “Subsequently, Ms. Vinograd asked to no longer work with Mr. Gavshon and CBS has made every reasonable effort to honor this request. CBS News vehemently denies there was any retaliation.”
The picture was explained by Gavshon, who said that after he sent a picture of his 17-year-old self urinating on fire to his sister, he was horrified when he realized he had also sent it to his colleague, Vinograd.
“I was mortified,” he said. “The following day I went in early and reported the incident.” He also apologized to Vinograd.
Gavshon said he sent the photo because he was reminiscing about a childhood friend of his who had just died. He was sharing pictures of the friend, including the fire picture.
CBS News has responded to a lawsuit filed today by an associate producer: “CBS thoroughly and immediately investigated the matter in accordance with its policies. CBS News vehemently denies there was any retaliation.” https://t.co/vEeoxupcoK
— The Hollywood Reporter (@THR) December 18, 2019
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