CBS Television Studios, the studio behind NCIS: New Orleans, is launching a second investigation into allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct made against former showrunner Brad Kern. Per the Hollywood Reporter, the new inquiry will be conducted by an outside investigator and broaden its scope to include potential new ones as well as accusations made earlier.
CBS launched two separate internal investigations into Kern back in 2016, just after he joined NCIS: NOLA's second season, which resulted in disciplinary action. Allegations included discriminating against women, giving female employees unwanted massages, making racially insensitive comments and fostering a hostile work environment through verbal abuse. Some of these claims date all the way back to his time on the WB (and later CW) series Charmed. As a result, he stepped down as showrunner but remains a consulting producer on the series, which keeps him in the show's offices. He just inked a new two-year deal with CBS to stay in that position through Season 5.
"The 2016 allegations concerning Mr. Kern were acted upon immediately with a thorough investigation and subsequent disciplinary action to address behavior and management issues," CBS told The Hollywood Reporter. "We have received no further complaints since this action was implemented. In addition, Mr. Kern agreed to step down from his leadership position as showrunner this season and transition to a consulting producer role. We now believe this matter merits further inquiry and therefore we have engaged outside counsel to review both the original investigation as well as the current situation."
Christopher Silber, who served as executive producer, will take over for Kern as the showrunner for the upcoming season. He's been accused of being complicit in Kern's alleged abuse and calling the investigation a waste of time.
"When Brad called other writers terrible names, Chris said nothing. When Brad said sexist and racist statements that hurt staff members, Chris never challenged him," an anonymous source who reportedly worked with Kern on NCIS: NOLA told THR. "Instead, Chris made fun of and belittled the investigations in front of writers who had already gone to HR, and who took a huge risk to file complaints against Brad. Chris created an even more tense and toxic environment. He acted like the HR investigations into serious offenses committed by Brad were a waste of time. That made it clear to everyone that no matter what awful thing Brad said or did, Chris was on Brad's side. Chris is not a solution to the Brad problem. He is an example of the culture of complicity."
The new investigation will look into previous allegations made against Kern, and include potential new ones as well as accusations made before 2016.
NCIS: New Orleans returns for Season 5 this fall on CBS.
(Full disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS.)