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Women’s Group to DNC: Drop November Debate with MSNBC Until NBC News Cleans House and Launches Independent Investigation

UltraViolet Calls on the DNC to Support Survivors, Pull Debate from MSNBC Unless NBC News Takes Action to Address Culture of Sexual Abuse at the Network

WASHINGTON - In the wake of mounting allegations of a culture of sexual abuse at NBC News, and reports that Noah Oppenheim helped shield sexual abusers at the network, Shaunna Thomas, co-founder and executive director of UltraViolet Action, a leading national women’s organization, explained:

“The DNC needs to make it clear that they support survivors of sexual abuse and cancel the upcoming 2020 Democratic presidential primary debate on MSNBC until Comcast and NBC News take clear steps to clean up the toxic culture that exists across their networks.

“Mounting reports show that NBC News executives—namely Noah Oppenheim—failed to hold sexual abusers accountable, failed to combat a toxic culture across newsrooms, and silenced survivors. It is also clear that NBC News’ so-called investigation into its culture was little more than a sham to provide cover for executives.

“Additional reports that MSNBC executive Phil Griffin showed staff graphic images of Access Hollywood personality Maria Menounos prove that this toxic culture is an epidemic that extends across nearly all newsrooms and networks at the company.

“Taken together, these initial reports demonstrate that NBC’s current leadership is either unable or unwilling to take appropriate steps to combat the culture of sexual abuse at the networks. 

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These are problems that can only be solved by significant structural and cultural changes at MSNBC, NBC News, and its parent company, Comcast.

“There is no one-size-fits-all approach to accountability, but NBC can look to CBS as an example of major network instituting important changes to address sexual abuse in the workplace. After firing Les Moonves, CBS now has an HR officer on every show and in every department, and a robust way to report complaints to an outside line. This is the beginning of what change looks like.

“It’s time for NBC and Comcast to shift way beyond optics and commit to addressing these issues—starting with an independent investigation, change at the top, and implementing and investing not only in sexual harassment training, but in anti-sexism and anti-violence trainings. We also challenge executives at Comcast and NBC to meet with survivors to hear about the importance of making enforceable and concrete changes.”

“But as NBC dithers, the DNC must stand with survivors and pull the upcoming democratic presidential primary debate from MSNBC until clear steps are taken to clean house at NBC News.”

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UltraViolet is an online community of over 550,000 women and men who want to take collective action to expose and fight sexism in the public sector, private sector and the media.  Find out more at WeAreUltraViolet.org

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