NBCU’s Mark Lazarus Pledges ‘Broader Culture Assessment’ in Probe Into Paul Telegdy Allegations

Paul Telegdy NBC
Chris Haston/NBC

NBCUniversal’s chairman of television and streaming Mark Lazarus told staff Friday that the company is opening an investigation concerning allegations of racist, sexist and homophobic behavior against former NBC Entertainment chairman Paul Telegdy, who exited the company amid NBCU’s greater reorganization, announced yesterday.

The sprawling corporate overhaul of NBCU’s TV business, meant to streamline and optimize its divisions across networks and streaming, now sees Frances Berwick transitioning from heading the company’s lifestyle networks to leading its TV entertainment business, with no leader named to lead the entertainment programming side of things after Telegdy’s departure.

The investigation follows Gabrielle Union’s filing of a harassment complaint in California in early June against the “America’s Got Talent” producers and network, alleging that Telegdy had threatened her over speaking up about on-set racism. A NBCU spokeperson said then that the allegations about threatening Union were “categorically untrue.”

In Lazarus’ note, updating staff about the corporate realignment, he said that in addition to the probe into specific allegations against Telegdy, that NBCU would also conduct a “broader cultural assessment” through its fair employment unit and “give [Lazarus] the chance to learn more about your experiences.” The company will develop an action plan after all the feedback is collected, he said.

Lazarus’ internal memo reads as follows:

I know you all received the news yesterday about how we are restructuring our business to better align resources across our television divisions. I look forward to the future of our company, but I know it also brings up a number of questions. Please know that I am working closely with the new leadership team to bring more clarity around the new organization and we will have more to share in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, I want to update you on how we will address the allegations about inappropriate behavior that were reported in the press.

I haven’t had the opportunity to get to know many of you yet, but I want you to know I deeply believe that we all deserve to work in an environment in which we feel respected and valued.

To that end, we are going to conduct both an investigation into the specific allegations, which will be led by an experienced outside investigator, and a broader culture assessment. The culture assessment will be facilitated by NBCU’s corporate Fair Employment team and will give me the chance to learn more about your experiences. I want to hear from you, and I encourage all of you to participate. Once it’s complete, you have my commitment to develop and communicate an action plan based on your feedback.

The investigation and assessment will happen simultaneously and will begin in the next few days. As always, if you have concerns that you want to make sure are heard now or in the future, please contact Comcast NBCUniversal Listens by calling 1-877-40-LISTENS or at http://www.ComcastNBCUniversalListens.com. You will have the option of reporting anonymously.

I believe the building blocks of great culture start with inclusion, transparency and trust; and I know we can get there together.