Outgoing NBC Entertainment chairman Paul Telegdy, who was investigated over accusations of ‘presiding over a toxic environment’ and routinely making racist and homophobic comments to staff, boasted about his work promoting inclusion in their workplace.
Telegdy told DailyMailTV in April last year that NBC proudly ‘stand on our track record of what we call just intentional inclusion.’
And speaking before allegations were leveled at him over his treatment of staff and bullying, Telegdy insisted he ran an open house for anyone who felt inappropriately treated.
This comes as NBCUniversal announced Telegdy’s departure Thursday as the TV giant unveils the ‘new organizational structure’ of its television and streaming division.
In a memo sent to staff, the firm announced a ‘reorganization’ of the programming unit in a bid to create a ‘more centralized structure’.
‘As part of the reorganization, Paul Telegdy, Chairman of NBC Entertainment, is leaving the company,’ the memo states.
Telegdy’s role will not be replaced, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Speaking on camera to DailyMailTV in April 2019 at the Taste For A Cure Event, Telegdy said he was happy ‘to have our score card checked’, and expressed his delight in equality at NBC.
He said: ‘Well I only speak for the culture at our place, and I don’t take any pleasure in the uncomfortable circumstances of others, so just say that here in NBC entertainment, I think we’ll stand on our track record of what we call just intentional inclusion.
‘Whether you’re a man or a woman, whatever your ethnicity, are you being seen? Are you being heard? Do you feel like the bottom rung of a ladder of a career is available to you. Do you feel like the top rung of a ladder of a career is available? Are you comfortable when you walk in a room? Do you feel like you’re being met by a representational group of people? And if they don’t look like you, are they treating you the way you feel is respectful?
‘So I know that there are lots of hashtags in the business and I just think that careful, empathetic, inclusive programming, management structures (are important).’
Telegdy revealed that he felt that looking after employees, especially those new to the TV business was important.
He cited himself as an example having worked up from humble beginnings of having ‘a chemical engineer from Hungary and my mom’s a failed actress from Hampstead (England).
‘So when people ask how I got into the business, my mum thinks I make some gameshow in America. She has no clue. So how you get into the business and how we provide access for people is really, really important. And so I hope things are improving and we are really happy to have our score card checked and we’re really happy to feed it all to employees and talent that work with us.’
Telegdy felt that the treatment of staff under his supervision had ‘undeniably’ benefited greatly from the #TimesUp movement and Hollywood’s drive for diversity.
He reflected on how he was proud to be part of the network airing the Golden Globes in 2019, which saw many stars dress in black.
‘In that moment, as a public statement of what people have been feeling and experiencing and the fact that, again, you ask me why people in Hollywood should do good is because they have a platform…so I hope some good comes of it.’
His comments coincided with the beginning of the racism scandal associated with AGT new judge Gabrielle Union.
Telegdy even asserted how important he felt it was to promote a more inclusive and equal workplace to show the rest of the world they lead the way.
The British TV exec, 49, who has denied all allegations leveled against him, was long considered one of the most powerful men in TV and was known for his charitable work and pushing the network to aid good causes.
‘Well lucky people should put their hand up and help people who are less lucky, that’s just a simple contract,’ he said at the UCLA Jonsson Cancer Center Foundation’s 24th Annual Taste For A Cure event honoring President of Lionsgate Television Group, Sandra Stern.
Telegdy saw his life turned upside down when The Hollywood Reporter released a bombshell report where more than 30 network insiders presided over a toxic environment, and ‘often violated workplace-conduct norms with no apparent consequences.’
Last Friday it emerged that NBC was investigating Telegdy amid accusations that he made racially and sexually inappropriate gestures to and about staff.
Multiple current and former employees, including big names like Sharon Osbourne and Gabrielle Union, told The Hollywood Reporter (THR) that Telegdy created a toxic work environment where racist, sexist and homophobic behavior was allegedly ‘par for the course.’
Telegdy would allegedly use misogynistic slurs and openly engage in homophobic impersonations of colleagues.
The top executive’s romantic life was apparently flaunted among staff as well. Three executives told THR that they heard Telegdy discuss a sexual encounter he had with a female musician and an industry associate.
Osbourne, a former America’s Got Talent judge, similarly alleged that Telegdy engaged in inappropriate behavior with a female he brought to a dinner for the AGT team.
‘She was on his knee the whole evening and he had his tongue down her throat and that was my introduction to Paul Telegdy,’ Osbourne reportedly said.
Telegdy has denied this allegation as well as another in which he called Osbourne a ‘f*****g witch’ when she threatened to protest over her son being dropped from another show after disclosing that he had multiple sclerosis.
In a more general statement, Telegdy said: ‘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.’
Telegdy has also been in a public battle with former America’s Got Talent judge Gabrielle Union, who accused him of threatening her agent while Union was in the midst of a discrimination suit against the network.