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Skydance blasted over Jeff Shell hiring after Hadley Gamble affair

Feminist groups have denounced the appointment of scandal-ridden Jeff Shell as president of Skydance Media, just a year after he stepped down as CEO of NBCUniversal in the wake of his “inappropriate relationship” with former CNBC anchor Hadley Gamble.

UltraViolet, which describes itself as a “national organization promoting feminist cultural and political change,” released a statement Wednesday slamming David Ellison’s Skydance, the company behind hit films such as “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part 1.”

Earlier this week, Skydance and media conglomerate Paramount reached a merger agreement that will see Ellison’s company take control of the company, which also owns CBS, MTV, VH1 and Black Entertainment Television.

Skydance Media top executive Jeff Shell will become president of Paramount Global. Reuters
Shell was accused of sexual harassment last year by former CNBC anchor Hadley Gamble. Hadley Gamble/Instagram

Shell will become president of Paramount Global if the merger is formalized after a 45-day period during which competing bids can be solicited and accepted to surpass Skydance’s $8 billion proposal.

“It is disappointing that after Skydance announced it was beginning the process of acquiring Paramount Global, one of the first announcements was to appoint a man who had been fired for sexual harassment to lead the new company,” Nicole Regalado, UltraViolet’s vice president of campaigns, said in a statement.

Regalado called on Skydance to reconsider Shell’s appointment as president, saying it “sends the wrong message to women that their safety and well-being are at risk.” [are] It is in danger.”

Shell, who was married at the time, had been engaged in a 10-year affair with Gamble while he was CEO of Comcast’s NBCUniversal. Getty Images

The Post has reached out to Skydance for comment.

Last April, Comcast, the parent company of NBCUniversal, filed documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission revealing that Shell, who was married at the time, had “engaged inappropriate conduct with female employees.”

Comcast said Shell’s misconduct included “allegations of sexual harassment” that were “substantiated” by its investigation.

On April 23 of last year, Shell was fired by NBCUniversal for “cause.”

Skydance Media, which has signed a deal to buy Paramount Global for $8 billion, was founded by David Ellison, the son of Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison. Evan Agostini/InVision/AP

of News site Deadline.com Gamble identified Shell as the woman with whom he had been having an affair for 10 years.

Gamble, a veteran journalist who was hired by CNBC in 2010 and until recently reported from the financial news channel’s Dubai bureau, filed a complaint in March last year alleging sexual harassment by Shell.

The Post reported at the time that Gamble filed the grievance after learning his contract would not be renewed.

CNBC and Gamble negotiated a financial settlement of more than $1 million.

Prior to being hired by Skydance, Shell served as an informal consultant to Redbird, a prominent private equity firm run by managing partner Jerry Cardinale.

Cardinale co-founded investment firm Redbird IMI with former CNN head Jeff Zucker, who left the cable network in 2022 after it was revealed he was romantically involved with a senior subordinate.

The merger marks the end of decades of control of Paramount by the Redstone family. Pictured above is Shari Redstone, daughter of the late Sumner Redstone. Reuters

Skydance is not opposed to hiring a former executive who left his previous role amid allegations of workplace misconduct.

In 2019, the company hired Pixar co-founder John Lasseter, who had stepped down as head of Pixar’s animation division a year earlier. Complaints about unwanted touching, kissing, hugging, and grabbing of female subordinates.

Lasseter’s contract with Skydance contains an “iron-clad” clause making him financially liable for any legal claims related to sexual harassment. According to Variety.

It also required Skydance to be exonerated for any past misconduct that had not yet come to light during the due diligence process conducted by an outside law firm that interviewed more than 20 people in the course of compiling its report on his conduct at Pixar.

It is unclear whether Skydance has conducted a similar investigation into Shell.

Skydance in 2019 hired Pixar co-founder John Lasseter, who had resigned from the Disney-owned company a year earlier amid allegations of sexual misconduct. Reuters

Paramount subsidiary CBS held its own #MeToo-related reckoning in 2018 after longtime CEO Les Moonves was accused of sexual harassment by multiple women.

Moonves left the company soon after, ending his 20-year tenure as network chief.