Normally, we wouldn’t be posting this news article because strictly speaking it isn’t about actually writing TV. But when we saw this on our Writing & Showbiz Newswatch, we did a double-take. Read on and, as writers, you’ll see how upsetting this situation is for those of us who toil in the fields of the Industry every day:
by Maureen Ryan
NCIS: New Orleans producer CBS Television Studios is hiring an outside investigator to look into allegations of harassment and misconduct against Brad Kern, the former executive producer and showrunner of the CBS procedural, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. At the same time, CBS Television Studios has inked a new two-year overall deal with Kern.
Kern was the subject of two internal investigations by CBS, both of which began in 2016, not long after his arrival at the show in January of that year. He also was the focus of a December story in which more than a dozen insiders described an alleged pattern of misogynistic bullying, racially insensitive comments and harassing behavior during his time at NCIS: New Orleans and stretching back at least 15 years.
In a statement, CBS says it dealt with Kern’s earlier issues. Amid the sexual harassment reckoning in Hollywood, the studio also has initiated a new independent probe to look into the claims against Kern both then and now. Kern has subsequently hired crisis management publicist Howard Bragman.
“The 2016 allegations concerning Mr. Kern were acted upon immediately with a thorough investigation and subsequent disciplinary action to address behavior and management issues,” CBS tells The Hollywood Reporter. “We have received no further complaints since this action was implemented. In addition, Mr. Kern agreed to step down from his leadership position as showrunner this season and transition to a consulting producer role. We now believe this matter merits further inquiry and therefore we have engaged outside counsel to review both the original investigation as well as the current situation.”
The investigation, which is expected to include but also go beyond the scope of the previous probes and potentially explore new complaints against Kern, will be led by Kate Gold, a senior partner in the labor and employment group of the law firm Drinker Biddle.
As the investigation plays out, absent any new or current complaints, Kern will still work from the writing offices of NCIS: New Orleans. He continues to be represented by WME….