Last November 29-year-old Kenneth Lombardi quit his job as a video producer at CBS after, he says, he endured months of sexual harassment. Now he’s filing a suit against his former employer, claiming to have been “repeatedly drunkenly groped and kissed by powerful men at the network,” reports the New York Post.
Lombardi’s assignment, interviewing celebrities on the red carpet, was a dream job that he says turned sour the harassment started. Lombardi says he came to fear for his safety. “I have symptoms of PTSD from this,” he told the Post.
The alleged harassment first began after Lombari sought advice on a celebrity video reel he created from Albert “Chip” Colley, director of CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley. They arranged to meet at a New York City gay bar to discuss the reel, and it was there that Colley made his intentions known.
Colley pressed Lombardi about his sexuality, and Lombardi replied that he’s bisexual. “Colley told [Lombardi] that he did not really believe being ‘bisexual’ was real and told Plaintiff that he was actually completely gay,” the suit says, according to the Post. Colley then diverted the discussion on the reel and began to ask sexually explicit questions and send Lombardi text messages with links to pornography.
“I have text messages and e-mails,” Lombardi told the Post. “While I was being attacked by Chip, I was texting my brother, ‘Oh my God, I’m about to be raped. Please, God, help me.’”
The lawsuit outlines another inappropriate situation with CBS News writer Duane Tollison. Lombardi claims Tollison came on to him at the 2013 CBS holiday party. According to the Post, the suit alleges that Tollison “slid his hand down Plaintiff Lombardi’s pants and grabbed Plaintiff’s penis and testicles.” Lombardi said he pushed Tollison away and quickly left the party after Tollison continued the sexual advance.
As of the publication of this story, Colley and Tollison haven’t gone on record on the suit. The Post received the following comment from CBS Network spokesperson: “While CBS takes all allegations of workplace misconduct seriously, we believe Mr. Lombardi’s claims are without merit and we intend to vigorously defend this lawsuit.”