A former CBS entertainment reporter is suing the network and two of his former bosses, alleging that the two men groped and kissed him against his will and that he was fired from his job interviewing celebrities because he complained about the harassment to HR.
Ken Lombardi, 29, says senior producer Duane Tollison kissed his neck at a 2013 office party and slid his hand down Lombardi's pants to grab his dick. Afterward, the producer allegedly half-apologized in a flirty text message, which is reproduced in court documents:
“I wanted to apologize if anything I did offended you or crossed a line. I like to get a little crazy. If you weren’t offended, then let’s do it again. LOL How is your day so far? :)”
Lombardi also claims he was victimized by CBS Evening News director Chip Colley after he asked Colley for advice about his work. Instead, he says, Colley drunkenly hit on him at a gay bar, kissing him and rubbing his leg. The conversation allegedly turned to sex, with Colley pushing Lombardi into admitting he's bisexual, and grilling him about his porn-viewing habits.
“I just turned 28 at time, Chip was in his mid- to late 50s, had been in the business for at least 30 years — he’s heavily connected — and he was running Scott Pelley ‘s news show,” he said. “I was terrified.”
Afterward, he says Colley started following him around the office in a creepy fashion.
Lombardi told CBS's HR department what was going on, but says his report wasn't exactly handled professionally. He says his direct supervisor, Paula Cohen (who manages the entertainment section of CBS' website, and is also named in the suit) just yelled at him and didn't take his allegations seriously.
Lombardi left CBS in November.
The network says his claims are "without merit" and they intend to mount a vigorous legal defense.