Fox News Today:
CBS’ “60 Minutes” senior producer Michael Gavshon admitted he sent a photo of himself urinating on smoldering coal to a female subordinate at the center of a legal battle, but says it was an accident that left him mortified.
Cassandra Vinograd, the associate producer who received the photo, sued the network for gender discrimination on Tuesday, claiming she was essentially punished after reporting the incident. The photo she received is two men putting out smoking coal by urinating on it, with their penises visible.
Gavshon said in a lengthy statement provided to Fox News that Vinograd was not the intended recipient, and he was simply attempting to pay homage to an old friend.
“60 Minutes” correspondent Steve Kroft, left, and producer Michael Gavshon, go over a script as they edit a segment for an upcoming show, in the “60 Minutes” offices, in New York, Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
“At the end of September, I was speaking to my sister in Johannesburg on Whatsapp. She and my elderly mother had returned from the funeral of a childhood friend. We were reminiscing and we decided to share some pictures of him. I sent her a picture of me with my friend who had just died and two others burning our school notebooks after our final high school exams. I was 17 years old at the time. In the photo, my friend who passed away and I were urinating on the fire – it was an act of immature adolescent rebellion 46 years ago,” Gavshon said.
“An hour later, to my horror, I realized that I not only sent it to my sister, but I had accidentally included my colleague, Cassandra Vinograd, the associate producer with whom I work at 60 Minutes in London. I immediately deleted the picture and apologized profusely,” Gavshon continued. “I was mortified. The following day I went in early and reported the incident. I cooperated with an investigation by the company and was told not to come into work during the course of the investigation. I continue to regret this mistake and sincerely apologize for it.”
Vinograd says she contacted CBS senior executives and management via email to describe the “highly inappropriate, unprofessional and upsetting” situation involving Gavshon. The London-based producer says she asked for an investigation and protection from retaliation but was instead stripped of responsibilities at work.
Vinograd now “sits alone in her office with no work to do,” raising the eyebrows of colleagues, and a male HR employee warned her against complaining about her boss while a vice president told her to keep her complaint confidential, according to the lawsuit.
The suit also claims Gavshon has a problem with alcohol, but the veteran TV producer refuted the accusation.
“I have an established record of responsible behavior at work over the last 30 years,” he said.
Vinograd is seeking damages to be determined at trial plus prejudgment interest, to compensate for “all monetary and/or economic damages plus further relief.”
CBS News vehemently denies there was any retaliation and is in the process of reviewing the complaint.