A top ABC News executive accused of making racially inappropriate remarks at black staffers has been fired following an internal investigation.
Barbara Fedida, the head of ABC News talent, will not be returning to her job after being suspended during the month-long probe into her actions.
Peter Rice, chairman of ABC News parent Walt Disney Television, broke the news to staff in a memo on Monday announcing the results of the probe.
The investigation began in June after Fedida was accused of making sexist remarks and racist comments toward black journalists at the network.
Among them, she was accused of quipping that ABC News doesn’t make GMA host Robin Roberts ‘pick cotton’ when questioning a potential pay raise for her.
Barbara Fedida, the head of ABC News talent, will not be returning to her job after the results of an internal investigation, the network told employees Monday
Fedida was accused of making sexist remarks and racist comments toward black journalists at the network. Among them, she was accused of quipping that ABC News doesn’t make GMA host Robin Roberts ‘pick cotton’ when questioning a potential pay raise for her
‘The investigation substantiated that Ms. Fedida did make some of the unacceptable racially insensitive comments attributed to her,’ wrote Rice in Monday’s memo to staff, NBC News reported.
‘It also substantiated that Ms. Fedida managed in a rough manner and, on occasion, used crass and inappropriate language,’ Rice explained.
‘Lastly, the investigation found no basis for the claims that Ms. Fedida was the subject of dozens of HR complaints and that ABC News spent millions of dollars in confidential settlements related to Ms. Fedida, as alleged in some press accounts.’
His last comments were in reference to a June 13 Huffington Post report which first described the alleged claims and complaints.
The news outlet said it conducted interviews with 34 sources who alleged she made inappropriate comments to staffers about everything from mass shootings to directing foul language at female employees.
‘To say that she’s an abusive figure is an understatement,’ one source told Huffington Post at the time.
‘Although Ms. Fedida made contributions to the organization over the 20-year span of her career, in light of the overall findings, we have determined that she can no longer serve in a leadership role and will not be returning to ABC News,’ Rice said.
Peter Rice, chairman of ABC News parent Walt Disney Television, in a memo to staff on Monday, said the internal investigation ‘substantiated that Ms. Fedida did make some of the unacceptable racially insensitive comments attributed to her’
Fedida has denied all allegations and maintained that she never engaged in ‘abusive’ or inappropriate behavior during her time with ABC News.
‘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.’
One claim raised in the Huffington Post was Fedida’s alleged racially offensive quip towards Robert, an African-American journalist who’s co-anchored Good Morning America for 15 years.
In 2018, Roberts reportedly asked for a pay raise as part of her contract renewal with the network.
Fedida, in a meeting with colleagues discussing the contract, reportedly felt Roberts’ paycheck was more than enough and questioned what else she could possibly want.
Fedida has denied all allegations and maintained that she never engaged in ‘abusive’ or inappropriate behavior during her time with ABC News. She is pictured at an event hosted by Variety in New York last year
It wasn’t as if ABC Network was forcing Roberts to ‘pick cotton,’ she reportedly said, according to a source who witnessed the incident.
Two additional sources who had heard about the alleged incident also confirmed the event with Huffington Post.
The comment was reportedly one of many disturbing remarks made by Fedida, who at the time was said to have more than a dozen human resources complaints against her and was the subject of a human resources investigation in 2016.
ABC News put Fedida on administrative leave as a result of the Huffington Post article.
An ABC spokesperson was not able to immediately respond when DailyMail.com reached out for additional comment.