TV talk-show host Maury Povich and other members of his staff are the subject of a $100-million sexual harassment lawsuit filed on Monday, in which the plaintiff claims she was barraged with sexual remarks, forced to view pornography and made to expose her body.
Bianca Nardi, 28, of Fort Lee, N.J., says in court papers obtained by the Associated Press that the sexually charged atmosphere among the show’s production staff was fostered by the “intimate and sexual relationship between defendants Maurice Richard Povich and Donna Benner Ingber.”
Court papers also say Nardi had an unfairly heavy workload because she did tasks that were supposed to be done by Ingber, who often refused to do her own work – without penalty – because of her relationship with Povich.
Gary Rosen, spokesman for the show, flatly denied the allegations, as did a spokeswoman for NBC Universal, which is also named in the lawsuit.
“We are aware of the allegations of harassment made by Ms. Nardi. We have done a complete and thorough investigation of her allegations of harassment and we are satisfied that there is no merit to them,” Rosen said. “We stand behind our experienced and dedicated staff, fully.
“We do not believe that Ms. Nardi was a victim of unlawful sexual harassment and intend to defend this lawsuit vigorously,” NBC spokeswoman Rebecca Marks said.
Among the many allegations listed in legal documents: Ingber, who is also named as a defendant, “many times in an intoxicated condition, telephoned (Nardi’s) residence at all hours of the late evening to discuss her personal relations with defendant Povich (and other men whom she was secretly seeing)” and to ask Nardi what staffers were saying about the relationship.
Nardi’s court papers also claim that during her six years of employment, she was ordered by Paul Faulhaber, executive producer of The Maury Povich Show, to wear short skirts, low-cut blouses and push-up bras. Faulhaber is also a defendant in the suit.
Povich has been married to veteran TV news anchor Connie Chung for 22 years. They have a 10-year-old son. Neither Povich nor Chung has commented on the case.