(Reuters) – An associate producer on the CBS current affairs TV show “60 Minutes” filed a lawsuit on Tuesday alleging gender discrimination and retaliation by the company after she complained about inappropriate conduct by her boss.
In the complaint, filed in New York State Supreme Court against CBS Broadcasting, Cassandra Vinograd, who is London-based, said she told company executives that her boss, “60 Minutes” producer Michael Gavshon, texted her a photo that made her feel “disgusted, uncomfortable and scared.”
Gavshon, 63, said he meant to send the photo to his sister, according to the complaint.
CBS News, which is part of ViacomCBS <VIACA.O>, said it “plans to vigorously defend against the lawsuit.”
“CBS thoroughly and immediately investigated the matter in accordance with its policies,” the network said in the statement. “Subsequently, Ms. Vinograd asked to no longer work with Mr. Gavshon and CBS has made every reasonable effort to honour this request. CBS News vehemently denies there was any retaliation.”
In a statement sent from CBS, Gavshon said he had intended to send the photo to his sister and that he reported the incident and cooperated with a company investigation.
According to the complaint, the CBS human resources department conducted an investigation after Vinograd raised the issue. Human resources advised her to stay home if she was uncomfortable working with Gavshon, and told her she should meet with Gavshon and try to “work through” things, according to the complaint.
After the investigation, Vinograd was stripped of all work responsibilities, according to the complaint.
CBS executives have been the subject of other sexual harassment allegations in recent years. Anchor Charlie Rose, CBS Corp President Leslie Moonves and “60 Minutes” Executive Producer Jeff Fager were all fired from the company or resigned under pressure.
Rose apologised for his “inappropriate behaviour.” Fager has denied allegations of sexual harassment.
Moonves has denied any wrongdoing and has described his sexual encounters as consensual.
(Reporting by Helen Coster; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien and Leslie Adler)
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