Debra Lee, former CEO of BET, reveals a toxic relationship with founder Bob Johnson.

Debra Lee, former CEO of BET, has released a memoir titled I Am Debra Lee, in which she reveals her toxic relationship with the network’s founder, Bob Johnson.

Lee revealed in an interview with Good Morning America and The Washington Post that the relationship began when Johnson was still the network’s president and eventually became abusive. She claims that Johnson threatened her job if she tried to end the affair, so she stayed in the relationship out of fear of losing her job.

Relationship Power Dynamics

Lee wanted to share her story to highlight the importance of power dynamics in relationships, particularly when one partner has significant authority over the other. She stated that she worked for Johnson for ten years before they began a personal, romantic relationship that led to their divorce. Because the company was aware of their relationship, they began attending events together. However, Lee realized that the relationship was not sustainable and that ending it would jeopardize her career.

Recovering from Professional Threats

Lee explained that Johnson threatened to fire her if she ended her relationship, and she found it difficult to recover from the prospect of losing her job and career. She eventually sought therapy, and after Johnson left the company, she took over as CEO for the next 13 years. Lee began reevaluating her relationship and how much consent she had in its development in light of the Me Too and Time’s Up movements. She hopes her story will encourage young women to be wary of power dynamics in relationships.

Bidding War for BET

The affair between Lee and Johnson was revealed amid reports of competing bids for BET. Tyler Perry and Byron Allen, both media moguls, are said to be bidding for a majority stake in the company. Perry already owns a minority stake in BET and has a long history with the network, while Allen wants to buy it as his second major media acquisition in less than a year.

Featured image: BET Networks CEO Debra Lee smiles brightly for the cameras. ”, by DrivingtheNortheast , licensed under CC BY 2.0 , on Flickr

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