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McGrath Praises Freston at Kaitz Dinner

New York -- MTV Networks chairman Judy McGrath Wednesday credited her ousted boss, Tom Freston, with being the architect of her cable fiefdom’s embracing of diversity -- in its work force and on the TV screen.

“Making MTV Networks into a diverse company was truly Tom’s vision, and in the 25 years we’ve been around, it may be the most radical act we’ve foisted onto the world,” McGrath said at the Walter Kaitz Foundation Fund-Raising Dinner here. “He said, ‘For a company that’s famous for a lot of things, I want us to be famous for diversity.’”

McGrath’s remarks -- as she accepted the Kaitz Foundation’s award on behalf of MTVN for its commitment to diversity -- sparked applause and cheers from dinner attendees.

Her appearance at the event came just over one week after Viacom CEO Freston was replaced by Philippe Dauman, who attended the dinner.

While lauding MTVN employees, McGrath said Freston deserves the credit for making inclusion and diversity core values and part of the corporate culture at the company.

“It's in our shows and our Web properties and our network launches,” she added. “It's in our history and our future. It's in our bones. It's simply the way we think. And it’s on the elevator with me every morning … pierced everywhere you can and can’t see, wearing flip-flops and pitching new ideas. Inclusion is the way we view the world, and it has everything to do with our success.”

The Kaitz dinner raised $1.5 million this year.