Patricia Heaton’s husband, “Carole’s Second Act” producer David Hunt, has been accused of sexual misconduct in an on-set scandal that led two female employees of the CBS sitcom to quit their jobs, according to a report.
Hunt — the show’s executive producer — allegedly inappropriately touched a female writer, who ended up leaving the series along with a producer after they claim the network mishandled their complaints, the New York Times reported.
Writer Broti Gupta said she went to human resources about Hunt touching her in two separate incidents, including one occasion where he put her hand on her thigh.
She said Hunt made her feel uncomfortable when he hugged her twice outside a work dinner in August before complimenting her pants and running a hand up her thigh.
Weeks later, Gupta was seated in a chair next to co-executive producer Margee Magee when Hunt allegedly approached Gupta and jerked her by the shoulders, the outlet reported. Gupta said she then brought up the initial encounter to Magee, who encouraged her to speak out.
The pair went to the series’ higher-ups, who reported the complaints to the network’s HR department, which began an investigation, the outlet reported.
During a follow-up meeting, Gupta told human resources that she didn’t want Hunt to be fired, only to receive sexual harassment training, according to the report.
“I told them just my own personal code of ethics, which is that if there is space for education instead of punitive measures, then I believe in education,” Gupta said.
However, after reporting her complaint, Gupta claimed she and Magee were prevented from attending certain rehearsals, rendering her unable to do her job properly.
“That gave me no option but to leave the show,” Gupta told the outlet.
Magee said she then met with HR to discuss the situation after Gupta’s departure and was stripped of nearly all of her writing responsibilities. She resigned in October over what she felt was retaliation for bringing her concerns to HR, the outlet reported.
CBS said Hunt “cooperated fully with the process” after complaints were made against him — and denied the former employees’ allegations that they were punished for speaking out.
The network said they launched an investigation and found “no evidence of retaliatory intent.”
“Our human resources team always endeavors to address issues in a professional and sensitive manner, and we must clarify that certain allegations about them have either been misstated or taken wholly out of context,” CBS said in a statement. “The writer and producer decided to leave the show of their own accord.”
Hunt’s lawyer, Bryan Freedman, said his client did “did not remember the details as described” and “does not recall rubbing anyone’s thigh or leg and he disputes that characterization of it,” according to the New York Times. Freedman said his client “remembers looking for a script but does not remember the detail of touching anyone’s shoulders, and if he did that, it was not intended to be offensive.”
Heaton, 61, the former star of the hit CBS sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond,” has been married to Hunt since 1990. The couple has four children.