Scott Pelley Says He 'Lost' Job at CBS Evening News After Complaining About 'Hostile' Environment
"I lost my job at the Evening News because I wouldn’t stop complaining to management about the hostile work environment," Scott Pelley claims
Scott Pelley is claiming that he “lost” his job as CBS Evening News anchor years ago after he repeatedly complained “to management about the hostile work environment.”
During Sunday’s airing of CNN’s Reliable Sources, Pelley, 61, opened up to host Brian Stelter about working at CBS, where he previously served as anchor of CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley (2011-17) and now works as a full-time 60 Minutes correspondent.
“We’ve been through a dark period of the last several years of incompetent management and sort of a hostile work environment within the news division,” Pelley said about CBS, which Stelter noted has seen “18 months of scandals and shakeups at CBS News and the rest of the company.”
Pelley then claimed that he was let go from his anchor position on CBS Evening News after he expressed his concerns to management.
“I lost my job at the Evening News because I wouldn’t stop complaining to management about the hostile work environment,” he said. “But as you say now, everything has changed. We have a new chairman of CBS Corporation, Joe Ianniello, a visionary leader. We have the first woman president of the news division, Susan Zirinsky, and I’ve known her for 30 years. She’s been at CBS more than 40 years. She has CBS News DNA. And now we have a new executive producer, Bill Owens, at 60 Minutes. It’s all blue sky from here. I’m very excited. I know these people and I know that we’re on the right track.”
When Stelter further pressed about Pelley’s alleged dismissal from the news program after he made complaints about the negative working conditions, the longtime journalist said that he first brought them forward about five years ago.
“Several years ago, four or five years ago, I went to the president of the news division and explained to him that this hostile work environment couldn’t go on for women and men,” he said.
While meeting with then-president David Rhodes, Pelley said, “he told me if I kept agitating about that internally, then I’d lose my job.”
Pelley ultimately escalated his concerns to former CBS CEO Les Moonves (he departed CBS in 2018 following numerous allegations of sexual misconduct).
“I went to his boss, who told me that he didn’t share my concerns. And so, having exhausted the possibilities in the news division, I went to the chairman of the CBS corporation, who listened to me very concerned for an hour, asked me some penetrating questions about what was going on,” he said about Moonves.
Said Pelley, “I didn’t hear back from him, but in the next opportunity in my contract, I was let go from the Evening News.”
In a statement obtained by PEOPLE on Monday, a CBS News spokesperson responded to Pelley’s Reliable Sources comments.
“Scott was expressing his own opinion. We disagree,” the spokesperson said. “CBS News has been working hard to advocate for an inclusive, safe and dignified workplace for everyone at CBS News and Scott has been a supporter of these efforts.”
PEOPLE is out to CBS and a 60 Minutes rep for comment.
The veteran journalist is only the second female solo anchor on CBS Evening News since Katie Couric who held the position from 2006-2011. O’Donnell, who was previously a co-host on CBS This Morning alongside Gayle King and John Dickerson, will take over for Jeff Glor, who replaced Pelley.
“I am going to give this everything I’ve got,” O’Donnell said on Twitter.