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Hollywood exec who called Stephen Colbert ‘gay’ has been placed on leave

Hollywood exec who called Stephen Colbert ‘gay’ has been placed on leave

Stephen Colbert

Vincent ‘Vinnie’ Favale, the senior vice president of talent for CBS Televisions Studios, has been placed on leaving after several employees reported him using sexual and homophobic language at work.

CNN spoke to nine current and former employees at CBS in their investigation.

Some of the people who reported Favale alleged he made various derogatory comments about late-night host Stephen Colbert and his guests’ sexualities.

During his time, Favale served as a senior programming executive on The Late Show, first with David Letterman and then Colbert, through last year.

‘He would frequently call Stephen [Colbert] gay because of his seeming inability to interview women well,’ one former executive told CNN.

‘He would say this in rehearsals, the control room. Sometimes the CBS attorney would even be present, which to me is just shocking that nothing was done.’

Another current employee said Favale made comments about actor Hugh Jackman while he was a guest on The Late Show.

The employee alleged Favale called Jackman ‘gay’ and said his 22 year marriage to¬†Deborra-lee Furness was ‘fake’ in front of co-workers.

‘It was so offensive. I really couldn’t believe it,’ the employee said. ‘I mean, this is an executive talking so openly like this … it’s mind blowing.’

Others said he ‘got away with it’

In 2015, Favale allegedly made a comment about Jennifer Hudson when she was performing on The Late Show.

‘I’ll never forget the day he told me he got four erections while watching Jennifer Hudson rehearse,’ a female former empolyee said.

Another employee said HR ‘didn’t take it seriously because it wasn’t physical’.

‘It wasn’t groping, so he got away with it,’ they continued.

A former female executive said Favale began to retaliate against her after she reported him to HR.

‘He stopped talking to me for long periods of time. Our roles required that we interact… he shut me out of meetings. I went back to HR and complained, but I was told it wasn’t happening and had been addressed with him,’ she said.

Responses to the allegations

On Wednesday’s (3 October) show, Colbert addressed the CNN article.

‘About six months into the show some of our employees said they were uncomfortable with some things that he said, so we took their complaints to HR,’ he said. ‘It seemed like someone was protecting this guy.’

He finished: ‘I’m grateful to CNN for writing this article. The press is not the enemy of the people. 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.’

Favale said other employees took his comments out of context.

He released the following statement to CNN:

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.

In September, the studio ousted Les Moonves, the former chief executive, after allegations of sexual misconduct and an investigation.

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