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Scott Pelley Claims He Lost His CBS News Job over Complaints about the ‘Hostile Work Environment’

Jaimie-lee Prince
May 28, 2019
08:28 P.M.

A former CBS "Evening News" anchor claimed he was fired for complaining too much about the hostile work environment in his division years ago. After a recent changeup, he is hopeful about the station's management today.


Scott Pelley went onto CNN's Reliable Sources news magazine and answered questions regarding the reason behind leaving the news division four to five years ago. A clip of the interview is found below.

Speaking to Brian Stelter, the former evening news anchor said that the relevant authorities would not entertain his concerns, and when he kept on prodding for a change, he was sent home.

He explained, "I lost my job at the 'Evening News' because I wouldn’t stop complaining to management about the hostile work environment." Pelley, 61, headed the segment "CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley" from 2011 to 2017.


He spoke about the "dark" times he endured and why:

“We’ve been through a dark period of the last several years of incompetent management and sort of a hostile work environment within the news division."

Pelley said he tried to change it when he went to the "president of the news division and explained to him that this hostile work environment couldn’t go on for women and men."


His job was threatened by then-president David Rhodes and he was warned to stop with the agitation. Pelley then went higher up to then-CEO Leslie Roy Moonves but was told that his concerns were not shared.

Following that, he said he went to the top of the hierarchy:

"And so, having exhausted the possibilities in the news division, I went to the chairman of the CBS Corporation, who listened to me very concerned for an hour, asked me some penetrating questions about what was going on.”


Afterward, Pelley heard nothing. He lost his job "in the next opportunity in [his] contract." As of May 2018, Norah O'Donnell heads the "CBS Evening News."

Referring to the recent baggings of several top executives in the company, Pelley described "18 months of scandals and shakeups at CBS News and the rest of the company."

Thankfully, the change has been for the better, and Pelley is glad:

“We have a new chairman of CBS Corporation, Joe Ianniello, a visionary leader. We have the first woman president of the news division, Susan Zirinsky, and I’ve known her for 30 years. She’s been at CBS more than 40 years. She has CBS News DNA."


Pelley now works on the station full-time as a "60 Minutes" correspondent.

"And now we have a new executive producer, Bill Owens, at 60 Minutes. It’s all blue sky from here. I’m very excited. I know these people and I know that we’re on the right track.”

A spokesperson for CBS responded to Pelley's comments by saying that he "was expressing his own opinion. We disagree." They added: "CBS News has been working hard to advocate for an inclusive, safe and dignified workplace for everyone at CBS News and Scott has been a supporter of these efforts."

Earlier this month, Pelley announced his upcoming memoir "Truth Worth Telling: A Reporter's Search for Meaning in the Stories of Our Times." He was interviewed about it on CBS "This Morning."


In his book, Pelley talks about the 2015 Paris terror attack, focusing on the reaction of people who were supposedly trying to find the meaning of life. Pelley said we should instead be asking; "What's the meaning of you?"

Hopefully having found his meaning in life, Pelley's former colleague sadly passed away early last month. Terry Martin worked as a producer of "CBS Evening News" on weekends.

He died on April 1 after succumbing to complications from Alzheimer's disease. He was active for 34 years before retiring in 2005. He was 75 years old when he died.

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