A 60 Minutes producer sent a dick pic to a junior colleague according to a new lawsuit.
The legal action is the latest in a series of sexual harassment allegations to hit the US network CBS.
60 Minutes producer worked in London bureau
60 Minutes producer Cassandra Vinograd filed the lawsuit claiming her supervisor ostracised her for complaining about his inappropriate behaviour.
In September, London-based Vinograd objected to longtime 60 Minutes producer Michael Gavshon’s alcohol consumption on the job.
In addition, she also complained about a sexually explicit photograph he sent to her phone.
Vinograd claims that as a result of her complaint, Gavshon and network executives retaliated against her, by stripping her of her duties.
Network has sordid history of sexual misconduct
Sexual harassment scandals have plagued CBS for the past two years and led to a number of forced resignations.
They include another 60 Minutes producer Jeff Fager, The Morning anchor Charlie Rose and even Chief Executive Les Moonves.
CBS paid $A18 million to actress Eliza Dushku as a result of firing her for complaining about sexual harassment perpetrated by Bull star Michael Weatherly.
‘Belligerent’ supervisor drank often and even passed out drunk in office
Vinograd started working for 60 Minutes in June last year, and assigned to the 63-year-old Gavshon’s team.
Her lawsuit states:
“Shortly after Cassie began working for Gavshon, she became aware that he drank alcohol often and excessively.
“Although Gavshon drank openly in the office and out in the field in front of CBS employees, no one said anything about it.
“Cassie quickly realised that Gavshon had been doing this for years, and employees were expected to tolerate him in a drunken state, even when he became belligerent or passed out drunk in her office.”
Vinograd claims she didn’t complain because of the reverence Gavshon received at CBS.
The dick pic
But all that changed during a reporting trip to Hungary when Gavshon sent her an old photo of he and some friends urinating.
Vinograd said the photo made her feel “disgusted, uncomfortable and scared” because Gavshon controlled her fate at CBS.
“Regardless of the photo being of Gavshon in much younger days, it was creepy and gross to receive a picture of her boss’s penis and urine stream.
“She did not find it appropriate that the photo included another man alongside Gavshon who also was holding his penis and urinating.”
Photo sent by mistake
Within an hour, Gavshon sent another message apologising for sending the picture, telling Vinograd he had done so by mistake.
He explained that he meant to send it to his sister who had attended a funeral of his high school friend.
Junior colleague ostracised following investigation
An investigation by CBS concluded Gavshon’s had sent the photo by mistake.
He allegedly became angry at the investigation because “a young, junior subordinate, who should expect to feel grateful for the opportunity to work for him” made a complaint.
Following the investigation, Vinograd claims he isolated and ostracised her.
“Unconstrained by CBS, he lashed out at his accuser… Gavshon took steps to exclude Cassie from ongoing projects and, contrary to prior practice, made travel arrangements to the NYC office for a segment screening for himself only, excluding Cassie.
“In Gavshon’s mind, Cassie was already done as his associate producer.”
Network says it will vigorously defend the lawsuit
CBS said in a statement that it will vigorously defend the sexual harassment claim.
For his part, Gavshon reiterated his claim that he sent the photo to Vinograd by mistake.
“The following day I went in early and reported the incident.
“I cooperated with an investigation by the company and instructed not to come into work during the course of the investigation
“I continue to regret this mistake and sincerely apologise for it.”
Gavshon also disputed Vinograd’s allegation of him drinking on the job, pointing to his “established record of responsible behaviour at work over the last thirty years.”
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