‘Carol’s Second Act’: Are ‘Inappropriate Touching’ Accusations the Beginning of the End for the Patricia Heaton Comedy?

Carol’s Second Act executive producer, David Hunt, was accused in September by one of the CBS comedy’s writers of “inappropriate touching.” Hunt’s wife is fellow executive producer and the show’s star, Patricia Heaton.

David Hunt and Patricia Heaton, executive producers of 'Carol's Second Act'
David Hunt and Patricia Heaton, executive producers of ‘Carol’s Second Act’ | David Livingston/Getty Images

Since then, the writers at the center of the allegations have left the show, leaving the show amidst a cloud of scandal. Find out what the network has to say and if the allegations mean the possible end, or even an interior rehauling, of the sitcom.

CBS just implemented new sexual harassment reporting policy this year

CBS’ CEO Leslie Moonves and its star anchor Charlie Rose have both been fired for sexual misconduct over the past two years. In response, the network has been under heavy pressure to make it clear it was taking allegations of this nature seriously.

On top of Moonves’ and Rose’s firings, actress Eliza Dushku of the drama, Bull, reportedly was granted a secret settlement of $9.5 million from CBS after she alleged one of her co-stars had sexually harassed her multiple times through lewd comments.

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The network clearly had the enormous challenge of presenting a new normal to the way it now handled sexual harassment accusations.

CBS told its employees in May that it would, going forward, be taking swift, proactive measures in dealing with sexual harassment. CBS employees were sent an email promising a “very expanded and visible” structure was now implemented for handling complaints. The email said that “highly trained HR executives” were available for every CBS program to “ensure safety and build trust.”

Hunt was accused of sexual harassment in September

According to the New York Times, in early September, Carol’s Second Act writer Broti Gupta accused Hunt of touching her inappropriately on two occasions. In the first instance, Gupta asserted that Hunt hugged her twice from the side and in the second one, she alleged that the executive producer ran a hand up the side of her thigh. 

Gupta’s first course of action, according to the Times and her tweets, was to tell fellow writer and co-executive producer Margee Magee about what had happened. Magee encouraged Gupta to tell showrunners, Sarah Haskins and Emily Halper.

By mid-September, Gupta had left the show, telling the Times she felt penalized for having filed the complaint. Magee also left the CBS comedy, in October, stating it seemed that her job role changed because of her decision to report Gupta’s complaint.

What does this all mean for the future of ‘Carol’s Second Act’?

CBS issued a statement confirming that “a claim of unprofessional behavior was made by a writer. The matter was promptly investigated by human resources, and appropriate action was taken to address the complaint. The executive producer cooperated fully with the process. The writer and producer decided to leave the show of their own accord.”

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“The process” that Hunt cooperated with was obligatory sensitivity training the network asked him to undergo. He completed the training program on Oct. 1. and the following week, Carol’s Second Act continued with an all-new episode, “Sick and Retired,” written by former CBS employee Margee Magee.

The show, apparently, will go on.

Read more: How ‘Carol’s Second Act’ Added Ashley Tisdale To the Ensemble