NCIS: New Orleans executive producer Brad Kern has reportedly been accused of expressing racially insensitive and predatory behaviour, as detailed in two separate human resources investigations that were conducted.
CBS's form of punishment for Kern, however, seems leinient at best: sensitivity training.
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According to Variety, Kern, who took over as showrunner for the series in January 2016, became the subject of a slew of allegations including sexual harrassment, discrimination against women — specifically, working mothers — and racially motivated remarks.
Multiple sources explained that he would often put on an offensive voice meant to mimic African-American vernacular speech.
"In the writers room, he would sometimes employ a stereotyped rendition of African-American speech patterns as he tried out dialogue meant for characters played by Darryl 'Chill' Mitchell and C.C.H. Pounder, African-American members of the drama's cast," Variety reports, with a former employee marking his actions as "offensive."
Furthermore, his racially charged intentions were reportedly shown again when a writer on the series wrote a script which depicted two guest characters — a couple — who were meant to be African-American. After it had been brought up that the female character was likely to be played by a white actress, Kern allegedly said on a conference call that it would not make sense to cast a Black man as her romantic interest if the female role was now filled by a white actress.
In addition to the race-centered offenses, Kern was also accused of making sexually charged remarks to women, giving them random massages without their permission, and mocking a nursing mother before her colleagues, at work.
Despite the investigations proving that Kern had definitely made "insensitive" and "offensive" comments, the network, somehow, concluded that there was not sufficient evidence in place to warrant the claims of harassment, discrimination or gender bias. CBS did tell its staffers, however, that "appropriate" action has been taken, including sensitive training, to prevent this from happening again in the future.
The network also released a statement further explaining their decision.
"We were aware of these allegations when they took place in 2016, and took them very seriously," it reads. "Both complaints were acted upon immediately with investigations and subsequent disciplinary action. While we were not able to corroborate all of the allegations, we took this action to address behavior and management style, and have received no further complaints since this was implemented."
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