NBC is reportedly investigating Paul Telegdy, the chairman of their Entertainment division, amid accusations that he made racially and sexually inappropriate gestures to and about staff, a report published Friday said.
Multiple current and former employees, including big names like Sharon Osbourne and Gabrielle Union, told The Hollywood Reporter (THR) that Telegdy created a toxic work environment where racist, sexist and homophobic behavior was allegedly “par for the course.”
Telegdy, for example, would allegedly use misogynistic slurs and openly engage in homophobic impersonations of colleagues. The top executive’s romantic life was apparently flaunted among staff as well. Three executives told THR that they heard Telegdy discuss a sexual encounter he had with a female musician and an industry associate.
Osbourne, a former “America’s Got Talent” (AGT) judge, similarly alleged that Telegy engaged in inappropriate behavior with a female he brought to a dinner for the AGT team. “She was on his knee the whole evening and he had his tongue down her throat and that was my introduction to Paul Telegdy,” Osbourne reportedly said.
Telegdy has denied this allegation as well as another in which he called Osbourne a “f—–g witch” when she threatened to protest over her son being dropped from another show after disclosing that he had multiple sclerosis.
In a more general statement, Telegdy said: “The nature of these allegations flies in the face of everything I stand for. I hope that my actions over decades — empowering those around me, supporting artists, and creating shows with values of aspiration and inclusion at the core — speak louder than the selective words of a few.”
The revelations came after Union, an actress and former judge on “America’s Got Talent,” filed a complaint against NBC with the state of California, which alleged derogatory and race-based comments about Union’s appearance.
In Friday’s report, THR said members of NBC executive Meredith Ahr’s staff were allegedly the ones who relayed that Union’s hair was “too wild,” notes which Union took as a comment on her race. NBC said it investigated the matter and concluded no comments were made about Union’s hair.
But issues surrounding race appeared to be a pattern as another insider claimed that notes often seemed related to one’s race.
Ahr also allegedly attempted to tease Telegdy by placing a photo on his desk of a Black actress she purportedly thought was unattractive — something Ahr denies.
Ahr defended herself in a statement, saying: “I have spent my career striving to create a work environment that gives people an opportunity to learn and grow, as well as championing diversity and inclusion both on our shows and in our executive ranks. To see this false portrait painted by anonymous sources is devastating, and in no way reflects who I am.”
An NBC spokesperson said in a statement that they took the allegations “very seriously” and would investigate the issue.
“This narrative is not reflective of the values of NBC Entertainment or the culture we strive to create,” the spokesperson said.
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