NBC is investigating claims that reality-TV chief turned NBC Entertainment chairman Paul Telegdy has over the years fostered a toxic workplace through his allegedly homophobic, misogynistic and racist behavior.
Off of claims made this past winter/spring by Gabrielle Union upon her sudden removal as an America’s Got Talent judge, the Hollywood Reporter interviewed dozens of producers, executives and insiders, many of whom pointed to a pattern of inappropriate behaviors and comments by Telegdy.
The accounts cited by THR include Sharon Osbourne saying that in 2012, Telegdy as reality-TV chief told her, “Go f–k yourself” when she protested NBC’s decision to drop her son Jack from Stars Earn Stripes after he disclosed an MS diagnosis; numerous sources claiming Telegdy has openly mocked, and used homophobic slurs against, gay executives; Telegdy making sexualized comments about talent’s appearance; his detailing of sexual encounters in front of staff; and his participation in a prank (perpetrated by current reality-TV chief Meredith Ahr, who is also named in THR’s reporting) that involved a photo of an “unattractive” Black actress.
As alluded to above, Telegdy also was singled out in Gabrielle Union’s harassment, discrimination and retaliation filing with California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing, which claimed that he aimed to personally “threaten and intimidate” her from pursuing claims of racism at AGT; NBC later called that claim “categorically untrue.”
Telegdy’s alleged pattern of behavior is such that he allegedly suffers poor working relationships with NBC titans Dick Wolf (who, sources say, never came to trust Telegdy) and SNL boss/late-night vet Lorne Michaels (who declined to take notes from Telegdy back in 2011).
Responding to THR’s reporting, an NBC rep said in a statement, “This narrative is not reflective of the values of NBC Entertainment or the culture we strive to create. NBCUniversal takes these matters seriously, and will investigate these allegations, many of which are coming to our attention for the first time. NBCUniversal remains committed to creating a safe, respectful and supportive workplace for all.”
Telegdy himself disputed Osbourne’s account of their 2012 meeting, and said in his own statement, “The nature of these allegations flies in the face of everything I stand for. I hope that my actions over decades — empowering those around me, supporting artists, and creating shows with values of aspiration and inclusion at the core — speak louder than the selective words of a few.”