President and CEO CBS Entertainment Group, George Cheeks, said that after a review, the company has fired two employees who confronted Armenian protesters in front of its studios Monday, one reportedly telling them, “I hope you die and I hope your country gets blown away.”
In a letter addressed to Armenia’s Consul General to Los Angeles Ambassador Armen Baibourtian, Cheeks said “two of these individuals have been identified as CBS employees.”
“Please be assured: this conduct does not align with the values of our company, and we condemn their language in the strongest terms. These incidents were investigated immediately, and as of last night, both of these individuals are no longer employed by CBS,” Cheeks told Baibourtian in the letter. “All of us here want you to know that we respect your right for peaceful protest, and we apologize to you and the Armenian community for this experience outside our facility.”
A group of Armenians staged a demonstration in front of the CBS Studios in Los Angeles to protest the network’s local coverage of the 150,000-person March for Victory for Artsakh on Sunday. In covering the Sunday’s event, the local CBS affiliate stations interviewed Nasimi Aghayev, Azerbaijan’s Consul General, who accused Armenia of being the aggressor and claimed Armenia attacked Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijani forces, with the equivocal and military support of Turkey, launched an aggressive attack across Artsakh beginning on September 27. Despite a ceasefire that went into effect on Saturday, Azerbaijan continues its relentless attacks on civilian and military targets in Artsakh.
During the Monday demonstration to protest the CBS coverage, two individuals who were believed to be employees directed insults at the Armenians gathered there. Baibourtian also was on the scene and spoke to CBS security officials.
The local news site Patch LA reported that one of the employees, who was not able to enter the parking lot told hurled insults at the protesters allegedly saying: “I hope you die and I hope your country gets blown away.”
.@cbsla employee shouting at peaceful #Armenia|n protestors outside CBS studios: “I hope you all die & I hope your country gets blown up”’ @KTLA @foxla @nbcla @abc7la @cnn @bbcnews @guardian_us @latimes @usatoday @nytimes @msnbc @tmz_tv pic.twitter.com/BN89v9MLWF
— ∎∎∎∎∎∎∎∎ ∎∎∎∎∎∎ (@517design) October 12, 2020
Another employee, according to Patch LA, allegedly told the demonstrators, “Good thing you’re not ‘BLM,’ cause I probably would run your ass over,” referring to the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests.
— Lilit Caradanian (@lilitcaradanian) October 12, 2020
According to Deadline, production “slowed” on the CBS lot as a result of the all-day protest on Monday.