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WFAN’s Joe Benigno, CBS Radio named in sexual harassment lawsuit

WFAN radio host Joe Benigno, center, on Dec.

WFAN radio host Joe Benigno, center, on Dec. 14, 2017. Credit: Entercom

WFAN sports talk radio host Joe Benigno has been accused of sexually harassing a former co-worker in a civil lawsuit that also names two other radio employees as defendants.

Benigno’s agent, Mark Lepselter, said Thursday, “Joe’s been at the station for the better part of 25 years and had no issues, to my knowledge. With any story you hear, people need to always consider the source . . . Joe denies the allegations, and as anyone can imagine is extremely upset for him and his family.”

Former CBS Radio sales executive Lauren Lockwood accused CBS Radio of allowing an environment in which employees drank alcohol while working and said Benigno, in particular, spoke with her regularly about inappropriate sexual topics, according to the suit filed Tuesday in state Supreme Court in Brooklyn.

The 39-page lawsuit says Lockwood worked for CBS Radio from 2006 until she was fired in July 2017. She said for the last five years of her employment she was based in New York and sold radio ads for Yankees broadcasts.

“We learned of a lawsuit involving a former employee who was discharged roughly a year ago,” a spokeswoman for Entercom, which owns WFAN, said in a statement Thursday. “We do not comment on pending litigation, but we do intend to defend the company vigorously.”

Lockwood, 40, said in her lawsuit that her five years working in CBS Radio’s New York office — which also houses WFAN’s studio — was marred by inappropriate sexual conversations with Benigno. He is a longtime WFAN sports radio host who for the last decade has hosted a midday talk show with Evan Roberts.

Her lawsuit accuses Benigno, 64, of talking about his sexual experiences and fantasies, ranking female co-workers by their physical appearances and discussing his alleged sexual relationship with another co-worker.

The lawsuit said some of these conversations took place in front of a human resources executive.

Lockwood’s lawsuit also accuses the company of providing male employees with “more favorable treatment, compensation and pay scales” than women.

The lawsuit says Lockwood was fired in July 2017 following a physical altercation involving her and other employees while attending an event at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

According to the lawsuit, none of the male employees involved in the altercation were fired. It contends she was fired “without proper cause and without proper investigation.”

Benigno is on vacation this week. He is due back on the air Monday. Roberts opened Thursday’s show by saying, “I know, you know, there is a big story out there. I’m aware of it. But as you probably have guessed if you use your brain, I cannot talk about it. There’s a story that involves the courts and the legal process. I do know the company is dealing with it, and I can’t add anything personally. So if you call in about it, you understand there’s nothing I can say. I’m not going to play stupid. We’re not all idiots. We understand that’s out there. I cannot talk about it.”

New York Sports