Davi Crimmins, fired from the syndicated Bert Show in June, said in her new podcast “Davi the Scapegoat” this week that she refused to take severance so she could speak openly about her time on the show, blaming an unnamed Bert Show member for “egregious and hostile workplace behavior.”
She didn’t say specifically what this person said or did to her but said there were “vile” recordings of comments made by said person.
“I was alienated, ostracized and systematically ousted by this person,” Crimmins said. “I was no longer a member of this family. And my perspective, I feel management affirmed all my suspicions when they dismissed my concerns, gave me no concrete answers and abruptly fired me.”
Bert Weiss, who owns and oversees the syndicated program heard in more than 20 markets and based out of Atlanta’s Q99.7 studios, fired her in June.
In a text response, Weiss said Crimmins was aware of issues and the firing was not abrupt at all. “Ultimately, Davi was let go because of long-standing off-air chemistry issues and conflicts with staff over many years,” he wrote, reflecting what he said on air at the time of her firing.
Weiss’ attorney Scott Merlin said there was a standard non-disparagement agreement in the severance offer she turned down that would have prevented her or the Bert Show from saying negative things about the other side. The severance would have also meant she couldn’t sue them later.
Weiss said he and the rest of the Bert Show staff caught Crimmins’ podcast and it “doesn’t align with any of our experiences. We all listened and I think we kind of shared the same feelings about it. Across the board, nobody saw Davi the way she’s communicating she felt perceived.”
While Davi felt like a “misfit” or “outcast” or “scapegoat,” Weiss said “the things that Davi feels judged by were the things the rest of us loved about working with her. She is beautifully different. She does see the world from a unique point of view. And that’s why she was such a great fit on the air.”
He said “Davi simply saw things in studio that caused her stress that others didn’t see. It was hard to manage and must have been equally hard for her to feel ‘unseen.’ I’m not denying Davi’s experience. It was just super different than the one the rest of us shared. As I told her a few times, ‘I can’t change the entire culture of a team when all the others on this staff are fulfilled.’”
Kristin Klingshirn, who has been on the show since 2011, said the podcast sounds like someone who was “trying to malign the show and rally others to do the same... not in the name of truth, rather, in the name of hurt.”
She said “Bert was generous with his praise and defended her on numerous occasions while she was on the show, and as hard as it was, change had to happen for the betterment and well being of everyone involved.”
In Crimmins’ description of her podcast on Apple, she wrote, “I survived a toxic family and I believe you can, too. If you are struggling in that kind of atmosphere, I’m gonna be your best friend. We’ll get through this together, bestie!”
She opened her first 29-minute mental health-themed podcast episode with a mission statement: “I want this podcast to be a place of fun and living an authentic life, freedom of thought and freedom to feel feelings and that includes the sticky stuff sometimes. A place to belong, a place to feel wanted.”
In a text message to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, she said she plans to do the podcast weekly but will release at least two episodes this week.
Crimmins, who also does stand-up comedy, spent more than a decade with the Bert Show, starting as an intern, then moving up the ranks before gaining full-time Bert Show on-air status in 2018.
She said she was fired over a six-minute Zoom call in June. The next day, the Bert Show addressed her termination on air.
“For reasons I cannot detail on the show, this is the move I painstakingly chose to make,” Weiss said on the show. “Some of you guys will get it twisted and assume that Davi must have been the problem. I assure you with all sincerity that is simply not the truth. In my eyes, the spirit of a studio is defined by all its members so this is not just a Davi issue and that’s why she’s not here anymore... We all have a responsibility in this.”
Klingshirn also read a short statement lauding Crimmins for her “quick wit, her humor, her infectious laugh and the unique perspective she brought to the Bert Show table.” Moe Mitchell, the other full-time on-air member of the Bert Show, chose to say nothing.
Crimmins said she found no solace in the nine minutes the Bert Show spent talking about her firing.
“I felt the listeners got more of an explanation of the termination than I did,” she said on the podcast. “Yet it left them more confused. I felt the same. I was prohibited from saying goodbye after a decade of loyalty. It all ended with my eulogy and I wasn’t even invited to my own funeral. This all put a bad taste in my mouth.”
She said the positive comments from Weiss and Klingshirn were uttered to “fool the public to continue to think the family dynamic is real and authentic. What do I gain by telling the truth of what happened? Just my freedom.”
Crimmins said she still had two years left on her contract when she was fired but “the small severance package was not worth my silence.”
By not “masquerading as a family” for the first time in years, she said “I felt strong. Powerful. And steady. In this realm, I found the me I’m supposed to be.”
She now said she regrets signing her three-year contract renewal last year. “I allowed gratitude and appreciation to be weaponized against me,” she said. “Good news is, I’m impervious to these manipulations now. I’m a different person than I was last August. I will not fall for that ever again.”
On her second podcast episode, she alluded to people showing up on her doorstep after the firing claiming to have mysterious packages for her and leaving notes on her car. The episode also featured a conversation with her friend and comedian Dedrick Flynn.
Weiss, in response, called any implication that the show was behind this type of incident “extremely hurtful, irresponsible and honestly ridiculous... Davi is so talented, and I truly hope she can stop creating false rumors and focus on her bright future. Everyone is ready to move forward.”