Back in July, WarnerMedia launched an investigation into the workplace environment of The Ellen DeGeneres Show following a BuzzFeed report alleging bullying and intimidation at the syndicated talk show, produced by Warner Bros.’ Telepictures division. A followup news report made claims of misogyny, verbal abuse and racism at Warner Bros.-owned TMZ.
Now new WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar has initiated a close examination of all of the company’s production units.
“We have engaged a third party to do an objective, proactive review across our production business (internal teams in addition to partner productions),” Kilar wrote in a memo to staff earlier this week, citing recent “public reports regarding patterns of unacceptable behavior.” “I want to understand if there is any pattern of behavior that is at odds with our need to treat each other with dignity.”
The company is updating their Standards of Business Conduct, which each employee will be obligated to sign. The stricter new guidelines will extend to Warner Bros.’ producing partners.
“In the coming weeks, we will also be communicating to all of our existing and prospective partners (e.g., the active and potential motion picture and television productions). This communication will make clear the requirement that people be treated with dignity and our intention to sever ties where patterns of behavior are at odds with that requirement,” Kilar wrote in the memo, first reported by BuzzFeed. “I anticipate that there will be situations where we choose to terminate business relationships. I also anticipate that there will be situations where a person may choose not to work with us because of these rigid expectations. That’s fine. While there may be companies that will do business with those people, we do not need to be one of them.”
The move is somewhat similar to NBCUniversal’s reaction to a discriminatory action filed by former America’s Got Talent judge Gabrielle Union, who claimed toxic work environment on the NBC series from Syco/Fremantle. NBCUniversa in Julyl announced the extension its anti-discrimination and harassment workplace policies to all outside productions.
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