LOS ANGELES – CBS is speaking out about its investigation into former “NCIS: New Orleans” showrunner Brad Kern.
When asked about ordering a two-year deal with the producer despite reports of the network once again looking into Kern over alleged harassment accusations, a CBS executive confirmed the investigation news.
“CBS studios investigated Brad Kern in 2016, action was taken after that investigation, and there have been no complaints since,” CBS Entertainment President Kelly Kahl told reporters at the 2018 Television Critics Associations’ Summer Press Tour in Beverly Hills, Calif. on Sunday.
He continued: “I am troubled and frustrated that reports continue to come out in the press, and because of that we’ve opened up another investigation with outside counsel. The goal of any investigation, internal or external, is to get to the truth, and I believe they will get to the truth.”
When pressed about when the decision was made to make Kern a consulting producer on the drama series, Kahl said he didn’t “know the exact timeline” however he believes it was “made before the investigation.”
“I don’t know, I believe in terms of keeping him out of the workplace during the investigation, that was simply to be as fair and open and transparent as we can be, the investigation is ongoing and we are told we will have results soon,” he said.
Added Kahl: “I believe that decision was made actually before the investigation, he was going to be a consulting producer this season.”
Amid the allegations against Kern and most recently CBS CEO Les Moonves, Kahl stated that the network takes “workplace safety very serious.”
“I think if you look up and down the vault at CBS, you’ll find a very safe environment,” he said. “We have over 40 shows in production, and the vast majority of those shows are excellent sets where everybody is very happy and everybody is very safe.
“Anytime any allegation comes up on any of our shows it gets investigated immediately, there’s no wiggle room there,” Kahl explained, adding that “any complaints we have a procedure to follow: it goes to HR, and sometimes to outside counsel if necessary, so while maybe we are not perfect, we take everything seriously at CBS or any other work place on set or in the halls.”
“Everybody deserves a safe workplace,” he concluded.
As previously reported by The Hollywood Reporter, CBS Television Studios hired an outside investigator “to look into allegations of harassment and misconduct” against Kern.
A rep for Kern had no comment when previously reached by Fox News.
In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter at the time, CBS Television Studios said: “The 2016 allegations concerning Mr. Kern were acted upon immediately with a thorough investigation and subsequent disciplinary action to address behavior and management issues.
“We have received no further complaints since this action was implemented,” the statement continued. “In addition, Mr. Kern agreed to step down from his leadership position as showrunner this season and transition to a consulting producer role. We now believe this matter merits further inquiry and therefore we have engaged outside counsel to review both the original investigation as well as the current situation.”
Per the outlet, the new investigation is expected to “go beyond the scope of the previous probes and potentially explore new complaints against Kern,” who was reportedly replaced by executive producer, Chris Silber, but allowed to stay on the show as a consultant.
Last December, Kern was accused of sexual harassment and discrimination against a woman and of using racially insensitive remarks in the workplace, Variety previously reported.
At the time, CBS said that investigators did find evidence of “insensitive” and “offensive” comments, but none that indicated harassment or discrimination.
“We were aware of these allegations when they took place in 2016, and took them very seriously,” CBS said in a statement.
“Both complaints were acted upon immediately with investigations and subsequent disciplinary action. While we were not able to corroborate all of the allegations, we took this action to address behavior and management style, and have received no further complaints since this was implemented.”