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Former BET CEO Debra Lee opened up about her extramarital affair with her boss, BET founder Robert L. Johnson.

In her new memoir, I Am Debra Lee, Lee admits she slept her way to the top.

In an interview with “Good Morning America” Tuesday, Lee said her relationship with Johnson helped advance her career at BET.

However, she claims her “job and my career were held over my head” after she ended their affair.

“It was like, ‘Well, if you want to break up with me, then you can leave tomorrow.’ And that was 20 years into my career at BET so I would have lost everything,” said Lee.

Lee, 68, said she worked for BET for 10 years before she began dating Johnson when they were both married. “People knew about the relationship. The company knew. We started going places together.”


“I wanted to tell that story because power dynamics are so important in a relationship, especially if you’re having a relationship with someone you work for. We all know the potential pitfalls,” she said. “I worked for Bob Johnson for 10 years before we had a personal, romantic relationship. He was a mentor and he pushed me and he was responsible for a lot of my success.”

She said she went through “a dark time” and she eventually sought therapy.

“Bob left the company and I became CEO, and I was CEO for 13 years without him being there and (able) to live my dream without any form of harassment,” she said.

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Lee reevaluated her relationship with Johnson after the MeToo movement gained steam.

Now she thinks she may be a victim, and there may have been moments when she was sexually harassed by Johnson, 76.

“There’s other kinds of harassment,” she reasoned. “It’s not all a man coming to the door in a robe.”

“At times it felt consensual, because we were out in public, but after “I sort of reevaluated the whole thing and said, ‘Was this really my choice?'”

Lee is working with a therapist to figure out if she was sexually harassed by Johnson.

Both Lee and Johnson divorced their spouses.