Brad Kern is the consulting producer who worked on CBS’s NCIS: Los Angeles. He has been with the show since 2015, and formerly worked as the show runner for the popular NCIS spinoff. But on Tuesday, CBS confirmed to Hollywood Reporter that Kern had been fired from the network. The report comes after Kern has been accused of harassing and bullying women, and making racially offensive remarks.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Kern Was Suspended in June as CBS Investigated Allegations Against Him
In June, CBS hired an independent, outside investigator to look into claims that Kern had harrassed women in his workplace. This was the third such investigation that CBS had carried out into accusations of improper behavior by Kern. But it was the first time CBS hired an outside investigator. The investigator, Kate Gold of the law firm Drinker Biddle, was given broad powers to look into any current or past allegations against Kern.
In 2016, CBS conducted two internal investigations into Kern. The network eventually said that it had “dealt with” any problems arising from Kern’s behavior, and executives said they were confident that the problems were resolved. But staff on NCIS: New Orleans continued to complain about his treatment of writers and other staff members involved in the show’s production.
In June, CBS said it was suspending Kern while the independent investigator, Kate Gold, looked into Kern.
2. People Working with Kern Called Him a ‘Gender Bully’
Over the years, many people involved in putting together NCIS: New Orleans have complained about their boss’s behavior. Speaking anonymously, writers and others involved in NCIS have complained that Kern regularly bullies the women working under him. They said he sexually harasses some women, and taht he just plain bullies and denigrates others. The result is an atmosphere which, many say, makes work a challenge.
Speaking to Variety, one staffer said, “He [Kern] discriminates against women, against working mothers, against anyone he can’t control — especially women.” He reportedly told one woman that she was “failing as a wife and mother.” And he apparently gave women massages without their permission, brought up sexual subjects, and made fun of a nursing mother.
Staff at CBS said taht these problems existed before the network investigated Kern in 2016. And they say the problems persisted after the network carried out the investigations, even though network executives expressed optimism about Kern’s future and said the problems had been resolved.
3. In 2018, Kern Stepped Down from His Role as ‘Showrunner’ of NCIS: New Orleans
In May of 2018, Kern stepped down from his position as showrunner of NCIS: New Orleans. He was replaced by Chris Silber, the show’s former executive producer.
Kern stayed on as a production consultant for the show.
In a statement, CBS said they had decided to launch a fresh investigation into the allegations against Kern. CBS said Kern had “agreed” to leave his leadership position after they launched the investigation.
“The 2016 allegations concerning Mr. Kern were acted upon immediately with a thorough investigation and subsequent disciplinary action to address behavior and management issues,” CBS told The Hollywood Reporter. “We have received no further complaints since this action was implemented. In addition, Mr. Kern agreed to step down from his leadership position as showrunner this season and transition to a consulting producer role. We now believe this matter merits further inquiry and therefore we have engaged outside counsel to review both the original investigation as well as the current situation.”
4. CBS Staff Said Kern Created a ‘Toxic’ Environment & People Were Quitting Their Jobs Just to Get Away from Him
The human resources department at CBS first launched an investigation into Kern’s behavior after one writer filed a lawsuit. The writer, Zach Strauss, claimed that Kern’s bullying, and especially his treatment of female employees, was intolerable and created a terrible working environment.
Strauss told Variety, “What affected me was that talented writers felt the need to resign or step away from a job that they were good at. This was their living and they were willing to walk away from a high-paying, hard-to-get job because they couldn’t stand working in such a toxic environment.”
5. Before NCIS: New Orleans, Kern Worked on ‘Beauty and the Beast’ & ‘Charmed’
Kern came on board at NCIS: New Orleans in 2015. Prior to that, he worked for a number of other hugely successful shows, including ‘Beauty and the Beast,”Undercover,’ and ‘Charmed.’
Kern worked as a writer for Lois & Clark, Remington Steele, and the Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. His first television credit came back in 1986, when he worked as a story editor for Hill Street Blues.