Male ex-staffer suing CBS for sexual harassment

A former employee of CBS news is suing the network and two top managers for sexual harrassment. 

Kenneth Lombardi, a former staff reporter, claims that the director of the CBS Evening News and another manager made unwanted advances toward him. And he has the texts and emails to prove it.

New York Post:

Lombardi, 29, says he was working the job of his dreams at the network’s website, staking out red carpets for grab-and-chat interviews with celebrities including Oprah Winfrey, Tom Hanks, Elton John and Clint Eastwood.

But that dream came crashing down — and the self-described bisexual started fearing for not only his employment, but his safety — after Colley and another male higher-up put the moves on him at boozy office functions, his Manhattan Federal Court lawsuit alleges.

Last March, Lombardi prepared a 10-minute video reel with excerpts of his best celebrity interviews, and asked the twice-his-age Colley for feedback. Colley suggested they meet at a gay bar, Hardware, in Hell’s Kitchen, to discuss.

There, a drunken Colley made it clear he had actually little interest in the younger man’s reel, the suit says. The conversation quickly turned X-rated. Grilled by Colley about his orientation, Lombardi reluctantly revealed he was bisexual.

“Colley told [Lombardi] that he did not really believe being ‘bisexual’ was real and told Plaintiff that he was actually completely gay,” the suit says.

The evening devolved from there, with Colley allegedly urging drinks on the younger man while rubbing his thigh, texting him porn site links and asking what he thought about when he watched porn videos, the suit says.

“He was sending me porn on my phone while he was talking about my career,” Lombardi said in a phone interview.


“I have text messages and e-mails,” Lombardi told The Post. “While I was being attacked by Chip, I was texting my brother, ‘Oh my God, I’m about to be raped. Please, God, help me,’” he said. “It’s painful to even look at them again.”

Even afterward, Colley would continually corner the half-his-age Lombardi in the hallways of CBS’s Midtown offices, the suit contends.

“Defendant Colley would usually discuss Plaintiff’s looks,” or his hairstyle, and make “sexual advances,” the suit says.

In harrassment cases like this, it's not about sex per se, but rather about power. I can recall working in an office in the 1970's where women came to work at their own peril. Several upper level managers routinely groped women in the office, threatening them with a loss of their job unless they cooperated. But they carried out this harrassment because they knew they could get away with it, not necessarily because they wanted sex.

That seems to be the dynamic at work here. Males rarely file suits for sexual harrassment, even if the harrasser is a woman, and the CBS execs thought they were safe.

It should be an interesting trial.


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