(Reuters) - CBS Corp has placed television executive Vincent Favale on leave after earlier allegations of using sexual and homophobic language resurfaced, the company said on Wednesday.
The action was taken against Favale, who is a senior vice president of talent for CBS Television Studios, after CNN reported on allegations made by nine unnamed sources on Wednesday.
“I’ll never forget the day he told me he got four erections while watching Jennifer Hudson rehearse,” a female former CBS executive told CNN.
Favale was a senior programing executive on the “Late Show with David Letterman” and “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.”
“The comments reported in this (CNN) story are offensive and not consistent with the standards we expect from our executives or the culture we want at CBS,” CBS said in an emailed statement.
“The network investigated a complaint for inappropriate language that was received in January 2016, and corrective action was taken,” CBS said. “However, since concerned voices are speaking up nearly three years later, additional review is warranted. Mr. Favale has been placed on leave while we look into this situation further.”
Favale was not immediately reachable for comment to Reuters, but in a statement to CNN, he said “Allegations that I have ever retaliated against anyone in any fashion are 100 percent false.”
“I have spent my entire career working at comedy shows, where there has always been a wide latitude to make transgressive jokes while preparing the program. While we make a lot of jokes, these jokes attributed to me, whether said in rehearsals or production meetings, are being taken out of context and were not said in the way being presented here,” he said.
The latest report comes weeks after Leslie Moonves stepped down as Chairman and Chief Executive of CBS following a series of allegations of sexual harassment and assault from 12 women documented in two investigations by the New Yorker magazine in July and September this year.
An investigation by two law firms hired by an independent committee in CBS’s board of Moonves continues.
At stake is a $120 million severance payment to Moonves that could be withdrawn if the board decides Moonves could be fired for cause.
One CBS employee told CNN that she was excluded from meetings after complaining about Favale’s inappropriate language. The employee eventually left the company.
One person familiar with the complaints against Favale told Reuters Favale was warned about his behavior in 2016 and the company had received no other similar complaints about his conduct before or since then.
Current and former CBS employees said Favale’s remarks span 2015 to 2018.
Reporting by Kenneth Li; editing by Clive McKeef