BOSTON- People in the media have a powerful day, and their words can make them money or cost them a job.
Earlier today, ABC news executive Barbara Fedida was placed on administrative leave after allegations of making inappropriate and racist comments about on-air talent.
The allegations were brought forth by the Huffington Post with a specific allegation detailing comments made towards prominent news anchor Robin Roberts.
One comment by Fedida was “it wasn’t as if the network was asking Roberts to ‘pick cotton,’ ” in regards to southern lifestyle. Roberts is a native of Tuskegee, Alabama.
Considering Roberts grew up in the south during the civil rights movement headed by Dr.Martin Luther King Jr, it’s only fair to say that these alleged comments are beyond hurtful.
In an interview with USA Today, ABC News released a statement regarding Fedida’s current placement on leave:
“There are deeply disturbing allegations in this story that we need to investigate, and we have placed Barbara Fedida on administrative leave while we conduct a thorough and complete investigation,” ABC News said in a statement. “These allegations do not represent the values and culture of ABC News, where we strive to make everyone feel respected in a thriving, diverse and inclusive workplace.”
Fedida has denied all allegations. However, this isn’t the first time she has been involved in controversy, nor has this been the first time a high ranked media individual came into limelight for inappropriate comments.
Huffington Post reporter Yashar Ali recently wrote that Fedida referred to Sunny Hostin, a co-host of the long-running ABC show “The View,” as “low rent.”
Hostin spoke with her co-hosts on “The View” who not only supported her, but were disgusted with the comments being aimed at her and other fellow ABC colleagues who allegedly had comments targeted towards them by Fredida.
In a discussion about former ABC anchor Kendis Gibson, Fedida is described as saying ABC News “spends more on toilet paper than we ever would on him.” Gibson later discussed his disappointment via Twitter.
Media executives acting in an inappropriate or disgraceful manner is not a new discovery. Music fans will remember how former CBS news executive Les Moonves sought to ruin the career of pop star Janet Jackson following the Super Bowl mishap.
Moonves was eventually canned following sexual assault allegations. Fredida on the other hand, could be on her way out of a job if indeed these allegations are true.
According to the LA Times, Fedida is the de facto No. 2 at ABC News under its president, James Goldston and has played a major role in developing and recruiting on-air talent at the network.
This is not a good look for ABC who has mostly avoided any sort of issues in their company’s history.
Allegations against Fedida and many others emerged along with other allegations coming towards media members who have been accused of racist comments and actions in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests across the country.
The protests have been in large part a response to the racially motivated killing of Houston native George Floyd by terminated police officer Derek Chauvin of Minneapolis.
In response to the nation’s reaction to Floyd’s death, The Walt Disney Company that owns ABC, has committed $5 million in contributions to social justice organizations.