CBS has placed an executive on leave following accusations that he engaged in vulgar and offensive workplace talk, including the alleged use of sexually charged and homophobic language.
Vincent Favale served as a senior vice president of talent for CBS Television Studios and worked closely with programs like “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” to develop comedy talent. On Wednesday, CNN published a report detailing the accusations against Favale based on interviews with nine current and former CBS employees, all of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Among the allegations reported by CNN was an incident where Favale said he got “four erections” while watching actress Jennifer Hudson, who was rehearsing to appear on Colbert’s show. Favale is also accused in the CNN report of using the terms “homos” and “gay” in reference to TV show guests and co-workers, including Colbert and actor Hugh Jackman.
Some of the people interviewed said they felt like Favale engaged in retaliation following complaints made to CBS human resources about a 2015 meeting in which they said Favale compared a construction drill to male genitalia.
“The comments reported in this story are offensive and not consistent with the standards we expect from our executives or the culture we want at CBS,” the company said in a statement. “The network investigated a complaint for inappropriate language that was received in January 2016, and corrective action was taken. However, since concerned voices are speaking up nearly three years later, additional review is warranted. Mr. Favale has been placed on leave while we look into this situation further.”
Favale denied the allegations in a statement to CNN.
“Allegations that I have ever retaliated against anyone in any fashion are 100% false,” he told the cable news network. “I have spent my entire career working at comedy shows, where there has always been a wide latitude to make transgressive jokes while preparing the program. While we make a lot of jokes, these jokes attributed to me, whether said in rehearsals or production meetings, are being taken out of context and were not said in the way being presented here.”
CNN reported that the nine individuals interviewed for the report felt comfortable speaking out after former CBS CEO Les Moonves resigned last month following allegations in the New Yorker that he had sexually harassed and even assaulted women throughout his career. Moonves has said he engaged in some consensual relationships but has disputed the harassment and assault allegations.