First Ellen's show, now Stephen Colbert's mired in controversy as music producer fired for sexual harassment

Giovanni Cianci's dismissal came about a week after musician Paige Stark alleged in an Instagram post that Cianci "harassed and attempted to assault" her at a music festival in 2010


                            First Ellen's show, now Stephen Colbert's mired in controversy as music producer fired for sexual harassment
(Getty Images)

On Tuesday, August 4, news outlets reported that Giovanni Cianci, the music producer of ‘The Late Show With Stephen Colbert’ since 2017, has been fired from the show after a woman accused him of sexual misconduct in a 2010 incident. 

Both Variety and The Hollywood Reporter confirmed this news based on sources within the show. It is unclear if their sources are the same. Cianci's dismissal came about a week after musician Paige Stark alleged in an Instagram post that Cianci "harassed and attempted to assault" her at a music festival in 2010. 

Stark wrote on July 22 on Instagram, “In 2010 at the CMJ Music Festival, [Cianci] harassed and attempted to assault me. Immediately after this event, he would not leave me alone. He followed me and my bandmate to a nearby bar and kept touching me and being in my personal space. I felt so unsafe I had to call another manager I knew -- a man to come to physically remove Gio.”

Stark said that later she heard more stories about Cianci, and added, "In 2017, in the midst of the #MeToo movement I attempted to privately reach out to Gio’s former boss Aram Goldberg, who is now a manager at Monotone. I was surprised to receive no response despite the fact that we had emailed in the recent past.” 

According to Variety, two friends of Stark’s -- one who was present at the bar on the evening in question, and another who spoke to her around the time of the alleged incident -- corroborated the account. Reportedly, soon after the Instagram post, lawyers from ViacomCBS reached out to Stark directly for her account, according to a source, emphasizing that the company takes such matters very seriously.

The firing of Cianci comes in the wake of news of sexual misconduct at another talk show. A slew of former employees of ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’ alleged that they experienced or witnessed sexual harassment and misconduct while working for the award-winning daytime show. According to a Buzzfeed News report, a former employee accused executive producer Kevin Leman of asking him for oral sex at a company party in 2013. Several other former employees alleged seeing Leman grope fellow staff.

Many also alleged that it was common for Leman to make sexually explicit comments in the office. “He’d probably do it in front of ten people and they’d laugh because ‘it’s just Kevin being Kevin,’ but if you’re in a position of power at a company, you don’t just get to touch me like that,” a former employee told Buzzfeed News.

But it wasn’t just Leman. A former employee alleged that co-executive producer Jonathan Norman “groomed” him by taking him to concerts and other events before attempting to perform oral sex on him. Several former employees also told Buzzfeed News that executive producer Ed Glavin made them uncomfortable by touching them. They said that Glavin “had a reputation for being handsy with women.”

“You could definitely see the creep factor and the creepy touching. That was out in the open for everybody to see,” a former employee, who alleged that Glavin regularly touched her in the show’s control room, told BuzzFeed News.

Giovanni Cianci joined 'The Late Show With Stephen Colbert' as a music producer in November 2017. Cianci was responsible for booking and producing music segments. He helped fill a role vacated by Sheryl Zelikson, who announced in July she would leave her position as a senior music producer after 20 years with 'The Late Show'. 

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