June 21, 2024

A former producer on “60 Minutes” is suing CBS, CBS News and parent company Paramount Global for gender discrimination, claiming that she was wrongfully terminated from the newsmagazine program.

In a complaint obtained by Variety, which was filed on Tuesday in New York federal court, producer Alexandra Poolos says the network fired her after she was falsely accused of bullying an associate producer she supervised. Poolos indicates discrepancies in how her firing was handled by the company compared to several male producers and editors of “60 Minutes” who’ve allegedly been the subject of multiple sexual harassment complaints.

“Sexism and misogyny defined the workplace of CBS, including CBS News, over many years,” according to the complaint. Poolos cites sexual misconduct and harassment claims against former CBS chairman Leslie Moonves, ex-network anchor Charlie Rose and former “60 Minutes” executive producers Don Hewitt and Jeff Fager, as well as several other current producers on the program.

Poolos was let go without severance last year after an associate producer reported her for being a “bully” and “not having boundaries,” the lawsuit says. CBS stated it terminated her for harassment and “justified their discriminatory decision” based on a “biased investigation,” according to the complaint.

“Poolos is not aware of CBS firing male ’60 Minutes’ employees based on a single complaint from a subordinate about behavior that was not alleged to constitute unlawful discrimination or retaliation,” the complaint reads. “In contrast with its harsh treatment of Poolos, CBS has declined to take any meaningful disciplinary action in response to serious allegations of misconduct against male employees.”

Among the people that Poolos mentions in her complaint is former CBS News president Neeraj Khemlani, who stepped down from his position in August overseeing “60 Minutes,” “CBS Evening News” and “Face the Nation,” among other programs.

“Despite the many complaints about his abusive behavior from CBS employees, particularly women and people of color, Khemlani has faced no meaningful consequences for his abusive behavior and remains associated with CBS,” the complaint states.

Poolos claims gender discrimination, retaliation and breach of contract. She seeks her full severance and her “whole for all earnings,” along with an order requiring CBS to “take such affirmative steps as are necessary to ensure that the effects of these unlawful practices are eliminated and do not continue to affect plaintiff’s employment opportunities.”

Variety has reached out to CBS for comment.

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