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ABC News' executive in charge of talent allegedly has an extensive history of abusive behavior and insensitive comments

  • According to The Huffington Post's Yashar Ali, ABC News senior vice president of talent and business Barbara Fedida once told Good Morning America's Robin Roberts during contact negotiations that it wasn't as if ABC was asking her to "pick cotton." "That remark is part of a long pattern of insensitive statements, including racist comments, made by Fedida to people who report to her, according to the sources who spoke to HuffPost. Fedida has been the subject of more than a dozen human resources complaints and was the subject of a human resources investigation in 2016 that led ABC News to hire an executive coach for her, sources said," Ali reports. "Staffers at ABC News who knew about the investigation told HuffPost they were stunned that it did not end in her dismissal. Fedida, who has worked under two ABC News presidents, Ben Sherwood and now James Goldston, has helped to foster an environment so toxic that several former staffers and talent told HuffPost that when they left the network they felt like they were leaving an abusive marriage. Two years after Fedida allegedly made the racist comment about Roberts, Fedida remains in power at ABC News, where sources say her alleged misconduct has led the network to spend millions of dollars in confidential settlements with former talent and staff, including at least one settlement related to allegations of racial discrimination." Fedida's behavior has led to a group of black journalists to complain about her diversity efforts, especially in wake of ABC News' coverage of the aftermath of George Floyd's death. Nightline's Byron Pitts, however, says "my personal experience with Barbara Fedida is that she is not racist. I know what racism looks, smells and sounds like. Barbara Fedida is not any of those things. But I am respectful of other colleagues who have had a different experience. In a statement from her attorney, Fedida said: “Throughout my career, I have been a champion for increased diversity in network news. Building a news division where everyone can thrive has been my life’s mission. I am proud of my decades of work of hiring, supporting and promoting talented journalists of color. And, unlike these heartbreaking and incredibly misleading claims about me, that track record is well-documented and undeniable.” UPDATE: Fedida was put on administrative leave on Monday morning and The View's Sunny Hoston reacts to Fedida reportedly calling her "low rent."

    TOPICS: ABC News, ABC, Barbara Fedida, Byron Pitts, Robin Roberts, Sunny Hostin