Ex-CNN anchor Soledad O'Brien: Network exec told her to only have the 'right kind' of black guests
Ex-CNN anchor Soledad O'Brien: Network exec told her to only have the 'right kind' of black guests

By Joseph A. Wulfsohn | Fox News

Former CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien made stunning claims on Saturday that a network exec once told her she could only have the “right kind” of black guests on her show.

Reacting to the controversy that has rocked ABC News over the weekend, O’Brien reflected on her time at CNN and indicated that a network executive discouraged her to sit down with black radio host Roland Martin.

“This is an interesting read. Reminds me of the CNN exec who told me: ‘Roland Martin isn’t the ‘right kind of’ Black person.’ She didn’t want me to book him on my show. L,” O’Brien tweeted.

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The tweet included an “L” at the end, though it is unclear if that was alluding to the unnamed CNN executive or a typo.

She added that, according to the network executive, New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow, who was a frequent guest of hers, was the “right kind of black.”

Soledad O’Brien@soledadobrien · 

This is an interesting read. Reminds me of the cnn exec who told me: “Roland Martin isn’t the ‘right kind of’ Black person.” She didn’t want me to book him on my show. https://twitter.com/yashar/status/1271827632431087617 …

Yashar Ali @yashar1. EXCLUSIVE: For the past six months I’ve been investigating a very powerful media executive you’ve never heard of: ABC News head of talent Barbara Fedida. What I uncovered is confidential settlements, racist and inappropriate statements, and more…https://bit.ly/2zxBjqA 

Soledad O’Brien@soledadobrien

Charles Blow, she told me, (also a frequent guest) was ‘the right kind of Black’.1,150

Blow, who is now a CNN contributor, reacted to O’Brien’s claim about him on Sunday.

“I don’t know how to take this ‘good negro’ talk…” Blow wrote.

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Charles M. Blow@CharlesMBlow

I don’t know how to take this “good negro” talk… https://twitter.com/soledadobrien/status/1271986223557607424 …

Soledad O’Brien@soledadobrienReplying to @soledadobrienCharles Blow, she told me, (also a frequent guest) was ‘the right kind of Black’.869

Martin also spoke out, tweeting “the internal s— I had to encounter at CNN would blow folks away” and telling Blow, “the s— said about me by certain people there behind closed doors…”

CNN did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.

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O’Brien, who left CNN in 2013 after 10 years at the network, was responding to a stunning report from Huffington Post’s Yashar Ali that lays out damning accusations against Barbara Fedida, head of ABC News talent, and her treatment of black journalists at the network.

In 2018, during a contentious meeting about renewing “Good Morning America” anchor Robin Roberts’ contract, Fedida reportedly “asked what more Roberts could want and said it wasn’t as if the network was asking Roberts to ‘pick cotton.'”

Fedida also reportedly referred to “The View” co-host Sunny Hostin as “low rent.”

Another source told Ali about a comment Fedida said about then-ABC News journalist Kendis Gibson, a black anchor, that ABC “spends more on toilet paper than we ever would on him.”

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According to the report, Fedida would also refer to women as “c—s” openly in the office.

Ali wrote that he had spoken with “34 sources over the course of six months” comprised of current and former ABC News staff.

“To say that she’s an abusive figure is an understatement,” a former ABC News staffer told the Huffington Post.

In a statement to Fox News, ABC News said: “There are deeply disturbing allegations in this story that we need to investigate, and we have placed Barbara Fedida on administrative leave while we conduct a thorough and complete investigation. These allegations do not represent the values and culture of ABC News, where we strive to make everyone feel respected in a thriving, diverse and inclusive workplace.”

Fedida said through her attorney, “Throughout my career, I have been a champion for increased diversity in network news. Building a news division where everyone can thrive has been my life’s mission. I am proud of my decades of work of hiring, supporting and promoting talented journalists of color. And, unlike these heartbreaking and incredibly misleading claims about me, that track record is well-documented and undeniable.” Joseph A. Wulfsohn is a media reporter for Fox News.

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