Barbara Fedida, the senior vice president of talent relations and business affairs at ABC News, is out of a job.
The New York Times reports that after Fedida was accused of making inappropriate and racist comments in the workplace to employees, including Good Morning America host Robin Roberts, the Walt Disney company (ABC’s parent company) launched an internal investigation, courtesy of the Proskauer Rose law firm.
But it wasn’t until HuffPost published an investigative piece by Yashar Ali, citing 34 anonymous sources discussing Fedida’s racist and toxic behavior did Disney put Fedida on leave. According to HuffPost, during a 2018 salary negotiation meeting between the network and Roberts, a source witnessed Fedida saying it wasn’t like ABC was asking her to “pick cotton.”
Ali’s story noted that this was just one instance in a long history of complaints about Fedida, including calling women employees “cunts.” Fedida, who was also in charge of diversity and inclusion at ABC, reportedly said she’d spend more on “toilet paper” than she would on former news anchor Kendis Gibson, who now works for MSNBC.
Fedida also reportedly called The View cohost Sunny Hostin “low rent,” and created professional hurdles for Mara Schiavocampo after the former GMA anchor tried to create positive change for Black talent.
Last month Fedida’s representative denied the accusations.
However, law firm Proskauer Rose substantiated the allegations against Fedida. And on Monday, the chairman of Walt Disney Television, Peter Rice, announced via an internal memo that the company has parted ways with Fedida.
In light of these events, Rice’s memo also stated that the company would separate the talent relations, business affairs and recruitment departments. Moving forward, each subdivision would receive its own leader.
Fedida’s departure is one in a string of several high-profile media types being outed for workplace discrimination and racially insensitive remarks, including Bon Appétit editor-in-chief Adam Rapoport and Hearst magazine chief Troy Young.