If you work in the entertainment field and claim to be a victim of the privileged class, you’re guaranteed to receive massive amounts of attention. Just ask Jussie Smollett.
And now you can also ask Whitney Davis, a former CBS executive who is black and who took advantage of that truism by claiming, in a lengthy essay for Variety, that she and other minorities were held back because the network has “a white problem.” The attention came quickly: Her piece got a link from the Drudge Report, and influencers in politics and media passed it around on social media.
But Davis isn’t a victim. Nowhere in her essay does Davis substantiate that she or other minorities were discriminated against based on their race. To the contrary, she only highlights the lack of black people — not all minorities, just black people in particular — who pursue careers on the production side of mass media.
Davis wrote that CBS “has a white problem across the board,” in large part because “there’s not one black creative executive” working at the company, even as she acknowledged that three of CBS’ 36 creative executives are “women of color.” If 8% of the creative executives are nonwhite women, but not black, that’s not a “white problem.”
Davis also complains that the network’s sole Latino executive in casting lasted only eight months before leaving for a job at Netflix. She offered no other information about the poor guy. For example, did he get a better job with better pay, better benefits, and more creative control? We’re simply supposed to assume his leaving is a part of CBS’ “white problem.”
Davis spent a number of years in CBS’ news division, working for the network’s nightly newscast. She complains in her essay that, at 23, she and one other black woman “held the lowest-ranking positions on staff.” Davis doesn’t identify the age of the other black woman, but what did she expect? She was working on a national news broadcast at age 23. At that same age, I too held an entry-level job at a book publisher. Take a guess as to which job must have been more fulfilling.
In any case, Davis continued to rise at CBS despite whatever problem she thinks was holding her back. She writes that she convinced a senior producer “to help me with my camera skills, and I soon began to pitch, shoot and produce my own stories.” Wow, it’s almost like she learned to operate in a real working environment. Here’s a tip: Initiative is everything. Whining is annoying.
Davis subsequently complained that she wasn’t asked to “travel to cover a story,” while two white male colleagues were. She said she “marched over” to her editor’s office to offer herself for the assignment and he told her, “I’m not going to waste the company’s money for you to go there and fail.” This is supposed to be evidence of CBS’ “white problem,” but maybe it’s evidence that her editor didn’t personally like her, or that perhaps he had reason to believe she would fail.
Despite her exhaustive documentation of what she’s convinced is discrimination, Davis bragged that she was one of just three CBS employees accepted into a program that nurtured emerging talent for eventually moving into creative executive roles. But her triumph was short-lived. “Nothing had prepared me for the lack of diversity I encountered” at the meetings she attended, she wrote, because she was the only black person in the room.
But of course, she also accounted for one-third of the “emerging talent” being nurtured in this program. And there she was, in the room.
Davis writes that in 2013, she approached one of her bosses to ask about joining his team but was passed over for “a less experienced white male.” There’s no suggestion that Davis considered whether her boss simply didn’t like her or, at the very least, liked the “less experienced white male” more, regardless of his race. That happens sometimes, though Davis, having learned that modern “social justice” is to advance up the ladder based on gender, race, and sex, doesn’t have a clue.
The essay recounts a number of “microaggressions” and perceived slights, but Davis says she never reported them or complained because she either dismissed them as ignorance or feared for her job. This is, again, someone who remained with CBS for multiple years and was promoted multiple times. Now she’s on Twitter demanding that one of her former CBS editors “put some respect” to her name by referring to her as “Mrs.” instead of “Ms.” because she’s married.