Women’s Group: From NBC News to NBC Entertainment, Comcast Has Created An Atmosphere That is Dangerous and Toxic To Women

Box labeled "Survivors Demand Justice at NBC" sits in front of the exterior of NBC's 30 Rock

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, December 05, 2019
CONTACT: Madison Donzis | 

Women’s Group: From NBC News to NBC Entertainment, Comcast Has Created An Atmosphere That is Dangerous and Toxic To Women

UltraViolet Says Culture Of Abuse Must Be Immediately Addressed

Last night, it was reported that NBC has launched an internal investigation into “America’s Got Talent” eight days after it was announced that judge Gabrielle Union would not be returning to the series amid complaints of a toxic culture on set.

In reaction to the report, Shaunna Thomas, co-founder and executive director of UltraViolet, issued the following statement, explaining:

“We applaud Gabrielle Union for speaking truth to power and being unapologetic in exposing the toxic workplace culture on ‘America’s Got Talent,’ and we know the problems at Comcast/NBCUniversal go far deeper than one or two shows, or one or two bad apples.

“Whether it’s Matt Lauer or Simon Cowell, Comcast/NBCUniversal have fostered a work environment that empowers men to abuse women in the workforce, all while corporate executives look the other way, or worse, protect the abuser and silence those who speak up.

“Comcast/NBCUniveral’s piecemeal approach to addressing a culture of abuse only when it is exposed in the media, must end. Internal investigations are entirely insufficient. The last time Comcast/NBCUniversal conducted an internal investigation, they exonerated their decision-makers and enablers of abuse, and failed to make systemic changes that addressed the root of the problems.

“It is time for a company-wide independent investigation into the toxic culture at Comcast/NBCUniversal. Comcast can and must do better.”

In the past months, UltraViolet has consistently called for Comcast/NBCUniversal to address its toxic workplace culture. In November, UltraViolet organized a letter to the DNC, signed by Presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Kamala Harris, and Sen. Cory Booker, calling on the DNC to demand Comcast/NBCUniversal take action to address the toxic culture that exists across their newsrooms and boardrooms. In October, members of UltraViolet rallied outside of NBC’s headquarters in New York City to deliver more than 20,000 signatures. The group demanded that NBC:

  • Fire NBC News President Noah Oppenheim, MSNBC executive Phil Griffin, and every person in leadership that enabled abusers, silenced survivors and failed to protect employees from abuse.
  • Release all Comcast/NBCUniversal survivors from non-disclosure agreements in employment contracts and settlement agreements. Terminate the use of non-disclosure clauses in employment contracts and settlement agreements and end the use of clauses mandating arbitration to resolve claims involving pregnancy discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual assault, discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation, race, or other protected statuses.
  • Commission an independent, outside organization with expertise on sexual violence to conduct a comprehensive internal audit and release the findings of the results to the public and to shareholders.
  • Implement structural disincentives to harassment and abuse.
  • Provide sexual harassment, anti-sexism, and anti-harassment training at every level within your corporation and its subsidiaries.
  • Ensure safety for survivors through anonymous reporting channels, protections against retaliation and ending the use of mechanisms to silence survivors.

UltraViolet also sent an open letter to Comcast CEO Brian Roberts calling on him to commit to proactively develop a safe, equitable work culture that truly addresses abuses of power and laid out the crucial steps that the organization should take to do so. Comcast has yet to respond.

VIEW THE LETTER HEREhttp://bit.ly/NBCopenletter

# # #