CBS employees who spoke to CNN alleged that Favale talked about having an erection while watching Jennifer Hudson rehearse for a 2015 performance on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” Employees said Favale called colleagues and guests “homos” and “gay” and recalled disparaging remarks he would make about women.
Some of the sources, all who spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing non-disclosure agreements or concern over professional retribution, claimed that Favale retaliated after they reported his behavior to human resources.
Favale issued a statement to CNN in response:
“Allegations that I have ever retaliated against anyone in any fashion are 100% false. I have spent my entire career working at comedy shows, where there has always been a wide latitude to make transgressive jokes while preparing the program. While we make a lot of jokes, these jokes attributed to me, whether said in rehearsals or production meetings, are being taken out of context and were not said in the way being presented here.”
Favale started his career with CBS in 1996 and served as a senior programming executive for “The Late Show with David Letterman.” He also oversaw the CBS syndicated “Howard Stern Radio Show” from 1998 to 2001.
In a statement Wednesday afternoon, CBS called Favale’s alleged comments “offensive and not consistent with the standards we expect from our executives.”
“The network investigated a complaint for inappropriate language that was received in January 2016, and corrective action was taken,” the CBS statement read. “However, since concerned voices are speaking up nearly three years later, additional review is warranted. Mr. Favale has been placed on leave while we look into this situation further.”
Colbert closed his remarks on the matter Wednesday with a call for accountability.
“I’m grateful to CNN for writing this article. The press is not the enemy of the people,” Colbert said. “This is why you want a free press, this is why you want investigative journalism. It’s to make sure that government and companies and people are accountable for their actions.”