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Sexual harassment is a problem that transcends the media and Hollywood industries, according to Viacom president and chief Bob Bakish.
- “This is not a Hollywood-media problem, this is a problem across all industries, including the US government,” said Bakish, speaking at Business Insider’s Ignition conference in New York on Wednesday.
- Bakish called the wave of sexual harassment reports since Harvey Weinstein “a watershed moment” in the quest toward safer workplaces.
NBC fired TV journalist and “Today” host Matt Lauer due to “inappropriate sexual behavior” on Wednesday – the recent in a string of dismissals owing to sexual misconduct in the industry.
But Viacom president and chief Bob Bakish doesn’t think sexual harassment is a problem specific to the media and Hollywood industries.
“This is not a Hollywood-media problem, this is a problem across all industries, including the US government,” said Bakish, speaking at Business Insider’s Ignition conference in New York on Wednesday. “And this is not a US problem, this is a global problem.”
The floodgates have opened ever since accusations against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein came to light, with scores of women coming out with allegations against some of the most powerful figures in media and beyond, including Mark Halperin and Charlie Rose.
“This hopefully is a watershed moment where we actually do create safer workplaces, because that’s ultimately what should happen here,” said Bakish.
He also said that Viacom was invested in doing its part in making things right. “We view this as a real issue and I do believe this will be a place we look back at that things will change,” he said.
Among the other topics the Viacom chief hit on Wednesday:
- Bakish said that while the stock market may not reflect this as yet, Viacom had stabilized its traditional business, and was now pushing toward multiplatform growth and investing in next generation platforms.
- He also noted that Viacom’s digital reach was up with the likes of Disney and BuzzFeed, but consumption still lagged. Moving forward, the company needed to ramp that up and that’s where new initiatives like the native studio business would help.