ABC News executive Barbara Fedida will not return following probe into alleged racial comments

Chairman Peter Rice shared an update of the company's investigation Monday.

July 20, 2020, 6:16 PM

Barbara Fedida, an ABC News executive who was placed on leave last month following accusations of racially insensitive comments, will not return to the company, Walt Disney Television Chairman Peter Rice said Monday.

In a company-wide email, Rice said that outside counsel had completed an independent investigation of the allegations, first reported in an article published by HuffPost. The story, citing dozens of unnamed sources, alleged that Fedida, who was senior vice president of talent and business affairs, made derogatory remarks about ABC News staff, including an alleged racist comment about "Good Morning America" co-anchor Robin Roberts.

In Monday's email, Rice said that the investigation "substantiated that Ms. Fedida did make some of the unacceptable racially insensitive comments attributed to her," and that she "managed in a rough manner and, on occasion, used crass and inappropriate language."

The investigation "found no basis" for allegations in media reports that Fedida was the subject of dozens of human resources complaints, nor that ABC News "spent millions of dollars in confidential settlements," Rice said.

In light of the findings, Rice said, Fedida "can no longer serve in a leadership role" and will not be returning to ABC News.

ABC News has reached out to Fedida for comment. Last month, she called the claims "heartbreaking and incredibly misleading."

Based on the results of the investigation, Fedida's former position will be restructured, with the business affairs role being separated from talent relations and recruitment, Rice said. Each function will now have its own leader. ABC News will also be sharing details later this week on initiatives to "enhance the culture of inclusion" at the company, said Rice.