Colley (left), Lombardi (center), Tollison (right)
“I wanted to apologize if anything I did offended you or crossed a line,” the text read. “I like to get a little crazy. If you weren’t offended, then let’s do it again. LOL How is your day so far? :)”
That’s the message former CBS entertainment reporter Ken Lombardi says senior CBS producer Duane Tollison sent him after an incident at a 2013 office party. According to Lombardi, Tollison allegedly pinned him to a wall, kissed his neck, then slipped his hand down his pants and took firm hold of his penis and testes.
Now, Lombard is suing his former employer for firing him after he complained about the incident to HR.
Lombardi, who identifies as bisexual, also says he was left “terrified” after being molested by CBS Evening News director Chip Colley while the two were having drinks at a gay bar after work one evening. Colley allegedly kissed Lombardi then grabbed his leg and starting asking him about what kind of porn he liked to watch.
“While I was being attacked by Chip,” Lombardi told the New York Post, “I was texting my brother, ‘Oh my God, I’m about to be raped. Please, God, help me. It’s painful to even look at them again.”
Afterward, he says Colley started following him around the office “in a creepy fashion.” He now claims to suffer suffer from PTSD from the harassment.
“I have nightmares,” he said. “I relive these moments every day. The sound of ice in a glass will take me back to that moment.”
After Lombardi went to CBS’s HR department about the situation, he claims his direct supervisor, Paula Cohen, didn’t take his allegations seriously. Lombardi was let go from the network in November 2014.
CBS is denying Lombardi’s allegations, saying they are “without merit” and vowing to mount a vigorous legal defense.