The dog whistle is finally being blown and the systemic racism that permeates the biggest newsrooms in the country are being exposed.
Barbara Fedida, head of ABC News talent is the latest with her treatment of black journalists at the network now on display.
19. GMA addressed my story this morning. They referred to what Barbara Fedida said about Robin Roberts (It's not like we're asking her to "pick cotton") as "racially charged"
Segment ended with: "We express our respect & affection for our friend and our colleague Robin Roberts." pic.twitter.com/lycTDEyc2n
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) June 14, 2020
Huffington Post spoke with “34 sources over the course of six months” comprised of current and former ABC News staff.
In 2018, had a contentious meeting about renewing “Good Morning America” anchor Robin Roberts’s contract. During the meeting, Fedida reportedly “asked what more Roberts could want, saying it wasn’t as if the network was asking Roberts to ‘pick cotton.'”
Yeah, she really went there and came from others.
Sunny Hostin holds back tears in her statement regarding ABC News executive Barbara Fedida's racist conduct — including referring to Sunny as "low rent" and Robin Roberts as "picking cotton"#BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/fh5VxP31OJ
— chris evans (@notcapnamerica) June 15, 2020
Fedida also reportedly referred to “The View” co-host Sunny Hostin as “low rent” and said of then-ABC News journalist Kendis Gibson, a black anchor, that ABC “spends more on toilet paper than we ever would on him.”
In addition, Fedida would also refer to women as “c—s” openly in the office. Holy Harvey Weinstein and this is a woman.
“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,” ABC News said in a statement.
“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.”
Wow, @sunny , those allegations are wild! I cannot believe Whoopi said she doesn't believe Barbara Fedida is a racist. She should've reserved that comment for after the investigation. By saying it now, it came across as dismissive towards the way Sunny is feeling. #TheView
— Sonya😷 ~ No Wahala -Vote Biden 2020💙 🇺🇸 🌻♊🍷 (@meSonyaB) June 15, 2020
GMA co-host and former Super Bowl champion, Michael Strahan on Monday addressed the controversy.
“Over the weekend, an article came out in the Huffington Post about ABC News senior vice president of talent and business affairs Barbara Fedida. The story, citing unnamed sources, alleged that Fedida said derogatory things about members of the staff, including an alleged racist comment about our colleague Robin Roberts.
“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. 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.”
You won't get rid of Barbara Fedida after your "investigation" and her "administrative leave" so I am never turning to ABC NEWS again!! 😡😡😡 pic.twitter.com/glN5IR7uRz
— SoTiredofIQ45 (@Azalaksh) June 13, 2020
Fedida began working at ABC News back in 1989 as a staffer for anchor Peter Jennings. She rose up the ranks among a male dominated executive culture.
After leaving in 2005 for an executive position at CBS News, Fedida returned to ABC News in 2011.
Fedida was also reportedly not the warmest with the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ). However role encompassed elevating diversity at the network but unlike most network executives, she would skip the annual NABJ convention.
#NABJ calls for @ABC News/@Disney to immediately launch a transparent, external investigation led by a diverse law firm to examine all of the allegations detailed in @yashar's report, while conducting a thorough review of ABC News Exec Barbara Fedida and the talent dept. pic.twitter.com/geJMBejx4h
— NABJ Headquarters (@NABJ) June 13, 2020
A letter from NABJ was reportedly sent to Goldston laying out ambitions to increase diversity. The plan included having one senior black producer on every program and interviewing black candidates for all job openings.
Reportedly, Fedida, along with other executives referred to the letter as a “black manifesto.”
The NABJ issued a statement calling for “ABC News/Disney to immediately launch a transparent, external investigation led by a diverse law firm to examine all of the allegations detailed in the report, while conducting a thorough review of ABC News Exec Barbara Fedida and the talent dept.”
The @DetroitNABJ Executive Board this morning sent this open letter to Metro Detroit television news directors regarding the continuing use of B-roll footage of the killing of George Floyd. @wxyzdetroit @FOX2News @Local4News @CBSDetroit @NABJ @NABJBroadcastTF pic.twitter.com/r5O3sQtO3m
— Detroit NABJ (@DetroitNABJ) June 16, 2020
The NABJ also called on ABC News to “waive its confidentiality agreements with any Black employees and other employees of color, and permit prior and current employees to speak on the record absent of reprisals if they choose to do so.”
With the imagery that shapes America in the media being scrutinized daily by President Trump, Fedida proves the freeze out of media members of color exists. However, with employees speaking out and the organization making a stand, the issue is starting to be dealt with.
Until you multiple it times the other networks who’s skeleton’s haven’t fallen out of the closet…yet.