“In March 2017, CBS became aware of inappropriate comments made during the production of the Diversity Comedy Showcase, and remedial action was taken at that time, which the company felt was appropriate to the matter,” CBS said in a statement. “Subsequent information has recently emerged. After looking into these reports and a discussion with Mr. Najera, he has resigned from his role with the Diversity Comedy Showcase.”
Najera has served as director of the comedy showcase for the past 13 years. The most recent Diversity Sketch Comedy Showcase was held at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood in January. Under Najera’s guidance, 22 actors and 80 writers, selected from more than 3,000 who applied, wrote more than 2,000 sketches and performed all-original material. More than 640 actors have landed roles as a result of the showcase to date, according to CBS.
The first complaint arose last February, sources told Deadline’s sister pub Variety which first reported the story. The network investigated the incident and disciplinary action was taken. New information surfaced in the past week, including an email from Crazy Ex Girlfriend co-creator Rachel Bloom warning participants that she’d heard things about Najera’s behavior, and a new investigation was launched, according to Variety. Bloom was not a participant in the showcases.
CBS’ diversity comedy showcase alums include Emmy winner Kate McKinnon (Saturday Night Live), Justin Hires (Rush Hour, MacGyver), Geoffrey Arend (Madam Secretary), Eugene Codero (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), and Masi Oka (Heroes, Hawaii Five-O) among others.
Najera, whose writing credits include In Living Color, MADtv and Latinologues on Broadway, is the latest in an ever-growing line of industry executives to lose their positions amid a surge of sexual harassment allegations that have arisen in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.