When CBS Radio hired Craig Lenti in 2006, he knew the company well — after all, his dad, Joe McCoy, was a program director there for 25 years.
But when Craig started working as a producer for longtime personality Dan Taylor, who he’d known since childhood, the company turned from the “playground” of his youth to an “Animal House”-style nightmare, he told The Post.
Over the next year, Lenti was forced to endure Taylor calling a fellow on-air personality a “f–king Jew bastard,” referring to a marketing manager as a “dyke” and describing a potential co-worker as “faggy,” he claims in contemporaneous notes made in a daily diary he kept — which was submitted to CBS Radio’s human resources in 2007 as part of a hostile workplace complaint.
Taylor, who hosts a daily 10 a.m.-to-3 p.m. show on WCBS-FM 101.1, would also avoid discussing Oprah Winfrey and other black celebrities on air, Lenti alleged in the diary, a copy of which was reviewed by The Post.
“That was the sick genius of it all. He never really let on about who he really is until you were in the studio with him. Once that [studio] door closed, all bets were off,” the 40-year-old producer said in a recent interview.
Lenti hoped his well-kept record of Taylor’s mephitic mutterings would result in HR ordering the DJ to stop — but it didn’t.
“When I went to HR, [the company’s] excuse was he didn’t know that I was bi, gay, whatever you want to call it, and he didn’t specifically target me,” Lenti said of the late-summer 2007 meeting between HR, Taylor and himself — a meeting prompted by his complaint.
“[Taylor] pointed his finger at me and told me that if I had a problem with how he was behaving, I should have told him directly,” he said.
Taylor wasn’t disciplined beyond the meeting with HR. Rather, Lenti was transferred off Taylor’s popular show soon after.
Lenti was laid off five days before Christmas 2013. After “holding on to the pain” of working with Taylor for nearly a decade, last November, as Entercom bought CBS Radio, including WFAN and WCBS-FM, Lenti posted a message on Facebook urging the station’s new owner to take action against its alleged bad apple.
Lenti mentioned Taylor in his post. His troubles at the radio giant were aired publicly just months before Lauren Lockwood, a former top saleswoman at the media company, claimed in a shocking July lawsuit that CBS Radio and Entercom condoned a “frat-house”-like work environment. The Post last month reported exclusively on the suit that claimed WFAN radio host Joe Benigno tried to pressure her into having group sex with his wife and a prostitute.
Benigno retaliated against her when she rebuffed his overtures, according to the suit.
Benigno’s lawyer has denied the allegations in the suit.
Lockwood worked at WFAN from 2006 through July 2017. Entercom closed its deal to buy CBS Radio on Nov. 11, 2017.
Following the suit, Entercom suspended Benigno and launched an internal investigation.
Since the initial report, six former employees across different CBS Radio units have come forward to The Post to back up Lockwood’s claims that the company had an “anything-goes” culture that ignored complaints about powerful men creating a hostile work environment.
“It always felt like the culture at the stations were problematic and way too touchy-feely,” one former employee at Radio.com, owned by CBS Radio, told The Post. “The drinking stuff made sense to me because it seemed as if everyone felt like it was a frat house, not a workplace.”
Entercom didn’t address any specific allegations against any employees, including Taylor, when asked for comment. An Entercom spokeswoman declined to comment on Taylor’s behalf when The Post reached out directly to him for comment.
However, an outside spokeswoman for Entercom refuted allegations about the company’s culture.
“We are deeply offended by this mischaracterization of our culture and work environment. This handful of allegations from former employees of CBS Radio does not reflect Entercom’s culture or work environment,” Liz Zale, a spokeswoman at Sard Verbinnen, told The Post.
“Entercom cannot speak to alleged actions many years ago before we operated these stations, but if we become aware of inappropriate behavior or conduct that does not reflect our values, we will take the appropriate action. We have a robust process for employees to report any complaints of harassment and all claims are taken seriously,” Zale said.
“Benigno would tell me my butt looked nice in those jeans, that I looked sexy,” Mia Harris, a former sports reporter at WFAN who covered the Jets and the Giants, told The Post.
Harris saw the married Benigno holding hands with a younger assistant at the Indianapolis airport in 2010 — and was pressured to keep quiet about it, she told The Post.
“He came up to me, tried to play it off,” she said. “He pulls me aside. He says, ‘Listen, don’t say anything to anybody. Please, you can’t get me in trouble. If my wife found out…,’ ” Harris said.
Six months later, Harris, who made $100 a day covering the NFL teams, began to realize she was losing out on more lucrative opportunities at the all-sports station to less-qualified men, she said.
Feeling squeezed out of a job, she resigned. Harris said the accidental airport encounter was the beginning of the end of her WFAN career.
Harris now works in sales near Miami.
Arthur Aidala, a lawyer for Benigno, declined to comment on Harris’ claims, but has denied the allegations in Lockwood’s suit and said he plans a vigorous defense in court.
While Entercom asserts that it has changed the corporate culture, and promoted more women, at least one female employee claims that is not true.
Jaclyn Dagnall, 30, who worked in promotions for WCBS-FM, re-filed with Entercom last November a 2013 HR complaint detailing years of alleged harassment from her boss, Frank Iemmiti, who she described in her complaint as a “workplace bully.”
Dagnall, who showed The Post photos of US Postal Service-certified mail receipts for the complaints mailed to Entercom executives and its HR department, said she never heard back from the company — and believes it never took action against her former boss.
Iemmiti referred to women subordinates as “the C-word,” and said that workers were running on “colored people time” — a slur meant to demean black people as lazy, according to copies of notes Dagnall had given to the company and that she gave to The Post.
Iemmiti, a marketing director, also targeted Dagnall, then about 23, for having an eating disorder — and would humiliate her for it, she said.
“Did your friend hold your hair up in the bathroom while you threw everything up you just ate?” he asked her after she ate a slice of pizza, according to the letter. She had not thrown up, and had given no indication she was sick, she said.
One of Dagnall’s ex-coworkers, who asked to remain anonymous, witnessed the account following her eating pizza. Another said he was told of it shortly after.
Dagnall was not aware of any action taken in 2013 by CBS Radio. In fact, Iemmiti was promoted, she told The Post.
It was because of the lack of action on the original complaint — and to stop Iemmiti from levying the same allegedly hostile behavior on other employees — that Dagnall sent Entercom copies of the filing.
On Nov. 29, 2017 — after Entercom acquired CBS Radio — Dagnall mailed copies of her complaints against Iemmiti to Entercom CEO and Chairman David Field, Esther-Mireya Tejeda, the company’s spokeswoman, and Entercom’s HR department.
Iemmiti left Entercom around May of this year due to an unrelated performance review, a person familiar with the situation told The Post.
Iemetti did not respond to multiple attempts over multiple days to reach him for comment.
While documented incidents went ignored by HR at both CBS Radio and Entercom, other incidents went unreported out of fear of retaliation — or concern that they wouldn’t be taken seriously, other former employees said.
In one unreported incident, Taylor, then 57, joined a group of younger employees — including Dagnall — on a vacation to Turks and Caicos in 2011.
During that trip, Taylor, who had previously made advances toward the then-23-year-old Dagnall, bought her a massage and invited her to come up to his hotel room after to smoke cigars, she said.
Dagnall canceled the massage, though, since she didn’t feel well. Besides, the gift made her “uncomfortable,” she said.
After that, Taylor stonewalled her, she claims.
“You don’t want to hang out with me anymore. Hang out with people your own age, I guess,” he told her afterward, she told The Post.
Dagnall said she never reported the incident out of fear Taylor would claim that she invited his flirtation — even though a co-worker corroborated her account of Taylor’s behavior.
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