Writer-producer Rick Najera resigned from his role as director of the annual CBS Diversity Sketch Comedy Show over allegations of inappropriate comments, according to a report in Variety. He has managed the show since 2004.
The network has been investigating Najera over comments that were first reported in February. However, fresh information has since come to light over allegations dating back to 2009.
The network confirmed his resignation on Friday.
“In March 2017, CBS became aware of inappropriate comments made during the production of the Diversity Comedy Showcase, and remedial action was taken at that time, which the company felt was appropriate to the matter,” CBS told Variety. “Subsequent information has recently emerged. After looking into these reports and a discussion with Mr. Najera, he has resigned from his role with the Diversity Comedy Showcase.”
The allegations include claims that he told a performer in 2009 that he and his wife were in an “open relationship” with the aim of pursuing her, and that other comments were made to a performer in 2014.
Rachel Bloom, the star of CW’s “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” was not a participant in the showcase, but sent an email to the participants, warning them and asking them to come forward, based on what she’d heard about his behavior. “She was so upset at the way the actors/writers were being treated,” says a source.
Bloom confirmed this to Variety, saying, “I can confirm this account, and that I wrote this email.”
Najera is leaving CBS immediately. A replacement has not yet been named.
The CBS Diversity Sketch Comedy Showcase highlights the talents of underrepresented ethnic groups with extensive sketch comedy experience. Additionally, actors with disabilities or LGBT actors of any ethnicity are cast and given the opportunity to participate.
Najera is just the latest executive to lose his role given the swirl of allegations of sexual harassment that has engulfed Hollywood since the Harvey Weinstein scandal first broke.
The writer-producer’s past work includes “In Living Color,” “MADtv,” and “Latinologues” on Broadway, is the latest Hollywood executive to lose his job over sexual harassment accusations.