NBC’s Chief Medical Officer offends network staff going to Rio

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Whatever juice she’s drinking, they don’t want any.

Some NBC staffers were outraged when Dr. Tanya Benenson, the network’s Chief Medical Officer, allegedly called sperm “man juice” during pre-Olympics health workshops detailing precautions employees should take when traveling to the Zika hot zone in Rio.

The network is in the process of sending more than 2,000 staffers to cover the games, including high-profile talent such as Matt Lauer, Meredith Vieira and Hoda Kotb.

Benenson has been NBCUniversal’s chief medical officer since 2005, and oversees the health and well-being of more than 50,000 employees at the company. She also sometimes offers medical advice on programs like the “Today” show.

Some NBC staffers refuse to go to Brazil Olympics over Zika fears

But it was her juvenile turn of phrase during an internal presentation that sickened some staffers.

“Employees were shocked and disgusted by the crude, immature, unprofessional language used by Dr. Tanya,” a staffer railed.

“Man juice?! What kind of language is that in the workplace? This is not Broadway and the `The Vagina Monologues.’ Everyone was stunned.”

Brazil has been at the epicenter of a frightening outbreak of Zika, the mosquito-borne virus linked to severe birth defects and possible neurological problems in adults. Researchers have found that the virus can be transmitted through sex.

Zika-proof Kotb, Vieira, Lauer are NBC’s Olympic ‘Golden Girls’

No NBC personnel assigned to work in Rio are required to travel if they believe their personal health or safety is at risk, network officials have said.

Among those opting out so far has been “Today” co-host Savannah Guthrie, who is pregnant. She has been replaced by Kotb.

“Major life and financial decisions have to be made whether to travel to Rio,” the NBC staffer said. “It has a huge impact on employees and families. The lack of sensitivity and vulgarity spoken by Dr. Tanya was absolutely inappropriate and disrespectful.”

One of Benenson’s close colleagues defended the doctor.

“She is an amazing person and an incredible doctor, I can’t understand why someone would be out there saying these things about her,” the friend said.

Benenson and NBC officials declined to comment.

Tags:
nbc
matt lauer
meredith vieira
hoda kotb
savannah guthrie
zika virus
rio olympics 2016
brazil

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