A former “Megyn Kelly Today” writer, who was terminated after claims of bullying at the show, fired off a bombshell email about the “toxic and demeaning environment” created by executives.
NBC defended itself against the claims made by Kevin Bleyer that young female assistants and other staff of the “Today” show are “abused and harassed” by executives who “scapegoat” and have profanity-laced tirades, DailyMail.com reported.
Bleyer’s scathing 4,400 word detailed email to NBC colleagues was sent after he was fired from NBC News this week and was published by The Daily Mail on Thursday. The head writer of “Megyn Kelly Today” leveled complaints to NBC News HR and NBC News president Noah Oppenheim about co-executive producers Jackie Levin and Christine Cataldi, though not indicating whether Kelly knew of the allegations.
According to the Daily Mail:
Among his claims are that Cataldi regularly calls her assistant Katrina “an idiot” while Levin makes impossible demands – such as demanding that her assistant Phoebe provide answers to questions that she never previously asked.
The writer said that on one occasion when he provided constructive criticism to a mistake that Levin had made, he was called a “f****** whiner”.
And he claimed she used NBC resources to edit her son’s college singing group’s video.
The email was sent by Bleyer to “Megyn Kelly Today” staff on Tuesday, calling the executive level of the show an “amateur hour” and claiming a “number of talented people” on staff were what kept the show running. Kelly reportedly did not receive a copy of the email.
Bleyer blasted Levin for her “incompetence and persistent abusive treatment” of staff as well as claiming Levin and Cataldi were often too preoccupied with personal matters which left the show and network open to problems, some potentially having legal consequences.
“It is a special absurdity – and what some find a hard-to-swallow injustice – that as a team we’ve been lauded for covering harassment stories daily on air, while the staff producing those stories feels so embattled and bullied themselves,” he wrote.
This email has been circulating inside NBC for a few days. Now it’s public. 4,400 words alleging “abusive treatment,” bullying, incompetence, etc by @MegynTODAY’s exec producer https://t.co/ZrC4KfZsBR
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) January 19, 2018
An NBC spokesperson defended the executives.
“Jackie and Christine are being attacked unfairly. They are both excellent and experienced producers, and have the full support of everyone here. They, and the team, are fully focused on continuing the show’s momentum as it continues to climb in the ratings,” the spokesperson said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.
Bleyer has declined to comment to Daily Mail but an NBC source told the publication the email is essentially correct.
“The working environment on ‘Megyn Kelly Today’ is completely toxic. It is hypocritical that a show that has positioned itself as a safe place for those who are victims, has staff that feel like they are being harassed and abused,” the insider said. “Megyn harps on about people having a voice and shining a light in dark places, so that’s what Kevin did. Here’s the problem, Megyn’s show doesn’t practice what she preaches – you do that on her show, you get fired! It’s a joke.”
But another unnamed source suggested it is Bleyer who is the problem.
“This is a recently fired temporary employee, who has never worked in a high-pressured news environment, and was not up to performing his job,’ the source told the Daily Mail. “Sadly, these kinds of distorted complaints are all too often alleged against women in management.”
The crisis is the latest in a string of incidents that have plagued NBC, with “Today” show executive producer Don Nash leaving the show this week to take up another NBC News role, and the firing of Matt Lauer due to sexual misconduct allegations.
“It takes balls to send an email like this to all staff, but for Kevin, enough was enough,” a source told Daily Mail. “No one is happy here and he stood up for all of us.”
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