ABC News correspondent Mara Schiavocampo was fired by senior ABC News executive Barbara Fedida for leading diversity efforts, according to a new report by The Huffington Post.
Sources have confirmed to The Huffington Post that even though Fedida was tasked with overseeing the network’s efforts to increase diversity and inclusion, she seemed to dislike those same efforts. She hated them so much that she would “often develop animus toward staffers or talent who tried to champion the efforts, including staffers she put in charge of improving diversity and inclusion,” according to the report.
Fedida is said to have “actively sabotaged diversity efforts at ABC” through her “combative relationship” with a group of ABC’s Black journalists, led by Schiavocampo, who organized to ask for better inclusivity in 2016, around the time the network was holding a town hall with then-President Barack Obama about race relations in the country. No staffers involved with planning the town hall were Black, leading Black journalists to organize. Their goals, organized in a letter, were “relatively modest,” according to the article, including “having one senior Black producer on every show and interviewing a Black candidate for every job opening.”
Fedida and other ABC executives are reported to have called those goals advocated by Black journalists “the Black manifesto,” a phrase Fedida used when talking about the group’s letter.
Fedida is said to have targeted Schiavocampo after the formation of the group, first by talking about her behind her back. Schiavocampo’s contract wasn’t renewed in 2017 by the nework, however Schiavocampo didn’t find out until July. When she was informed, she was promptly taken off the air, despite her contract not expiring until 2018. Schiavocampo and her attorneys filed a legal claim against ABC News alleging racial discrimination on the part of Fedida, leading to the network giving Schiavocampo a financial settlement on the grounds of Schiavocampo signing a nondisclosure and nondisparagement agreement.
Fedida’s level of hate for diversity efforts even led her to turn her back on the National Association of Black Journalists by failing to appear at numerous NABJ conventions. In contrast, other networks routinely appear at the yearly conventions to hear critiques and gain advice on how to better serve their diverse journalists and audience.
Fedida has been suspended from ABC News with an investigation pending due to her past behavior and racist comments, including disputing Roberts’ salary during contract negotiations. During the dispute, she is reported to have said, “It wasn’t as if the network was asking Roberts to ‘pick cotton.'”
As people send love and support to Schiavocampo, Roberts and The View host Sunny Hostin, also mentioned in the report, Schiavocampo acknowledged it all on Instagram:
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Today I am smiling because of YOU. Your messages of support feel like the sun. You are warmth and light in the darkness. I am smiling because of the dozens of texts, dms, and calls I’ve received over the last few days. I am smiling because of the way my family @rachelnoerd @sunny and countless others have rallied around me. I LOVE YOU ALL MORE THAN YOU KNOW ????????????????