Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts and other employees at ABC News were the subjects of racism, sexism, and a toxic work environment under the leadership of executive Barbara Fedida, prompting the network to place Fedida on administrative leave while launching an internal investigation.
The revelation, which was unearthed in a June 13 HuffPost report was part of a lengthy six-month investigation with 34 sources comprised of former and current staff, who spoke on the record.
“To say that she’s an abusive figure is an understatement,” one former ABC News employee told the outlet.
One of the most shocking examples of Fedida’s reported abuse occurred during a 2018 contract negotiation where Roberts asked for a pay raise. Roberts has anchored GMA for 15 years. Sources claim Fedida became upset, inquiring why Roberts wanted more money.
“Fedida then asked what more Roberts could want and said it wasn’t as if the network was asking Roberts to ‘pick cotton,’ according to one source who was in the room and witnessed the exchange. Two other sources who were not present but were told about the incident soon afterward confirmed the account to HuffPost,” the article states.
Fedida worked as head of ABC News talent since 2011. Prior to that time she began working at the network in 1989 and left for a position at CBS News before returning in 2011. While the accusations were made public, it fosters a lack of accountability within the executive network. Fedida reportedly has multiple human resources complaints in her file.
Fedida also reportedly referred to The View co-host Sunny Hostin as “low rent,” and shared the network “spends more on toilet paper than we ever would on him,” in reference to journalist Kendis Gibson, who no longer works for ABC News. Another source said that Fedida would sometimes openly refer to women as “c—s” in the office.
“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,” an ABC News spokesperson said in a statement regarding the allegations.
“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, in response, has denied the claims. “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.”
This article was originally posted on MadameNoire.com