×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

CBS Diversity Showcase Director Rick Najera Exits Amid Harassment Allegations (EXCLUSIVE)

CBS is parting ways with writer-producer Rick Najera, following an investigation into allegations that he made inappropriate comments to performers while serving as director of the network’s annual Diversity Sketch Comedy showcase, Variety has learned exclusively.

Najera has helmed the showcase for the past 13 years. CBS’ investigation focused on allegations that surfaced during the past few years. The last showcase was held in January 2017.

In a statement to Variety, a spokesman for CBS said, “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. 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.”

The first complaint arose last February; the network investigated the incident and disciplinary action was taken, sources close to the situation tell Variety.

CBS received new information in the last week, which triggered a fresh investigation. Among the complaints were a 2009 incident in which he allegedly said he and his wife were in an open relationship, implying to the performer that he was interested in pursuing a relationship, as well as a 2014 incident in which he was accused of making lewd comments to a second performer.

Rachel Bloom, the star of The CW’s “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” was not a participant in the showcase, but sent an email to the participants warning them and asking them to come forward, based on what she’d heard about his behavior. “She was so upset at the way the actors/writers were being treated,” says a source.

Bloom confirmed this to Variety, saying, “I can confirm this account, and that I wrote this email.”

As a result of the recent investigation, Najera is leaving CBS immediately. A replacement has not yet been named.

The CBS Diversity Sketch Comedy Showcase highlights the talents of underrepresented ethnic groups with extensive sketch comedy experience. Additionally, actors with disabilities or LGBT actors of any ethnicity are cast and given the opportunity to participate.

Najera is just the latest executive to lose his role given the swirl of allegations of sexual harassment that has engulfed Hollywood since the Harvey Weinstein scandal first broke.

His writing credits include the TV series “East Los High,” “MADtv,” and “In Living Color,” as well as the feature film “Nothing Like the Holidays.”

A rep for Najera declined to comment.

More TV

  • Phylicia Rashad

    'The Terror,' 'Los Espookys,' Phylicia Rashad Join 2019 ATX Television Festival Lineup

    Phylicia Rashad; upcoming series “David Makes Man,” “The Terror: Infamy” and “Los Espookys”; and some panels dedicated to female storytelling have joined the eighth annual ATX Television Festival. Rashad will be honored with this year’s “Award in Television eXcellence” and will take part in a Q&A discussion around the event. This award celebrates her iconic [...]

  • Matthew Rhys

    'Perry Mason' Starring Matthew Rhys Scores Series Order at HBO, Tim Van Patten to Direct

    The Team Downey-produced “Perry Mason” limited series has been picked up at HBO. The series will be set in 1932 Los Angeles. Based on characters created by Erle Stanley Gardner, this limited series follows the origins of American fiction’s most legendary criminal defense lawyer (Matthew Rhys). When a child kidnapping case breaks down his door, [...]

  • Apple Video, TV, News Subscription Service

    Apple Ready to Raise Curtain on Video, TV and News Subscription Service

    The day has nearly arrived for Apple to show the world whether there’s any fire behind the smoke of its streaming service. Apple has kept a tight lid on most of the details of its upcoming service, even keeping its creative partners in the dark about how exactly their work will be distributed. What is [...]

  • Fox Layoffs

    Disney-21st Fox Layoffs: TV Divisions Brace for Deep Cuts

    A second day of mass layoffs has begun on the Fox lot in the wake of Disney completing its acquisition of 21st Century Fox on Wednesday. Longtime 20th Century Fox Television Distribution president Mark Kaner is among the senior executives who were formally notified with severance details on Friday morning. 21st Century Fox’s international TV [...]

  • Barry Manilow illustration by Ben Kirchner

    Barry Manilow Reflects on Early Career, New York Talent Show 'Callback,' and Featherbed

    Barry Manilow’s place as one of America’s best-loved entertainers was secured decades ago, but the 75-year-old shows no signs of resting on his laurels, which include nearly 50 top 40 hits, beaucoup gold and platinum albums, sold-out tours, an Emmy, a Grammy, a Tony and a Clio. His 21st century accomplishments include more SRO dates, [...]

  • This image taken from the Twitter

    HBO’s Reaction to Trump’s ‘Game of Thrones’ Campaign

    Everyone wants a piece of the “Game of Thrones” lemon cake. From Bud Light to Red Bull the world of Westeros is open to a lot of brand partnerships, unless you’re using that iconic typeface to push a political agenda. In November of 2018 President Donald Trump unveiled a “Thrones” inspired poster with the words [...]

  • Jeff Goldblum performs in a sketch

    Inside the High-Pressure World of Late-Night Talk-Show Prop Demands

    Television production is an area where “Hurry up and wait” is a common refrain. However, for the prop teams that work on late-night talk shows like “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and “The Late Late Show With James Corden,” that’s not an option. They typically have only a matter of hours to deliver what’s necessary. Lou A. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content