UPDATE: 9:45 a.m.
CBS News and PBS fired morning show host Charlie Rose on Tuesday, less than 24 hours after several women who worked with him on his PBS interview show alleged a pattern of sexual misconduct, including groping and walking naked in front of them.
CBS News president David Rhodes said there is nothing more important than assuring a safe, professional workplace.
To date, there have been no accusations of bad behaviour by Rose from people who work at CBS News. He’d been a co-host of “CBS This Morning” since 2012 and a contributor to “60 Minutes.” The allegations, first outlined in The Washington Post, are from people who worked with him or prospective employees at his nightly PBS show, which has been suspended by that network.
“I’ve often heard that things used to be different,” Rhodes said in a memo to CBS News staff. “And no one may be able to correct the past. But what may once have been accepted should not ever have been acceptable.”
He noted that CBS News has reported on sexual misconduct revelations at other media companies for the past two years. “Our credibility in that reporting requires credibility managing basic standards of behaviour,” he wrote. “That is why we have taken these actions.”
There’s been a flood of misconduct stories involving prominent men since The New York Times reported on Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein this fall. Predating that are harassment accusations that cost former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes and the network’s top personality, Bill O’Reilly, their jobs.
NEW: CBS News terminates Charlie Rose following allegations of sexual misconduct. "There is absolutely nothing more important, in this or any organization, than ensuring a safe, professional workplace," says CBS News President David Rhodes. pic.twitter.com/CPgVRjsvXJ— CBS News (@CBSNews) November 21, 2017
Several women have accused Rose of touching them on the breasts, buttocks or thigh, emerging naked from a shower when they were working at his residence and, in one case, calling a 21-year-old staffer to tell his fantasies of seeing her swim in the nude. A former associate producer for Rose’s PBS show, Reah Bravo, told the Washington Post: “He was a sexual predator, and I was his victim.”
Rose had no immediate reaction to his firing. In a statement late Monday, he apologized for his actions and said he was “deeply embarrassed.”
Rose’s two co-hosts on “CBS This Morning,” Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell, were sharply critical of their colleague on the air Tuesday. The story of Rose’s behaviour led his former broadcast.
“This is a moment that demands a frank and honest assessment about where we stand and more generally the safety of women,” O’Donnell said. “Let me be very clear. There is no excuse for this alleged behaviour.”
King said she considered Rose a friend and held him in high regard, but was struggling because “what do you say when someone that you deeply care about has done something so horrible?
“How do you wrap your brain around that?” she said. “I’m really grappling with that. That said, Charlie does not get a pass here. He doesn’t get a pass from anyone in this room.”
She said that while the story described a Rose she did not know, “I’m also clearly on the side of the women who have been very hurt and damaged by this.”
The “CBS This Morning” eye-opener segment, a 90-second collection of film clips about the day, also led with the Rose story and quoted two pundits speculating the charges may end his career. “He’s toast,” said one off-screen voice.
David Bauder, The Associated Press
Charlie Rose is the latest public figure to be felled by sexual misconduct allegations, with PBS halting distribution of his nightly interview show and CBS News suspending him Monday following a Washington Post report with the accusations of eight women.
The women, who all worked for Rose or tried to work for him, accused the veteran newsman of groping them, walking naked in front of them and telling one that he dreamed about her swimming nude.
Rose, 75, said in a statement that he was “deeply embarrassed” and apologized for his behaviour.
“PBS was shocked to learn today of these deeply disturbing allegations,” the public broadcasting service said in a statement. “We are immediately suspending distribution of ‘Charlie Rose.’”
Three women went on the record in the Post’s deeply-reported story. Reah Bravo, a former associate producer for Rose’s PBS show who began working for him in 2007, told the newspaper: “He was a sexual predator, and I was his victim.” She said Rose groped her on multiple occasions and once, during a business trip to Indiana, called her to his hotel room where he emerged from a shower naked.
Kyle Godfrey-Ryan, one of Rose’s former assistants, was 21 when she said Rose repeatedly called her to describe his fantasies of her swimming naked at the pool at his Long Island home while he watched from his bedroom. She said she was fired when Rose learned she had spoken to a mutual friend about his behaviour.
Megan Creydt, who worked as a co-ordinator on Rose’s PBS show in 2005 and 2006, told the newspaper that she was sitting in the passenger seat as Rose drove in Manhattan one day when he put his hand on her thigh. Five women interviewed by the Post described similar grabs to their legs in what many interpreted as an attempt to see their reactions.
Rose said that he has behaved insensitively at times “and I accept responsibility for that, though I do not believe that all of these allegations are accurate. I always felt that I was pursuing shared feelings, even though I now realize I was mistaken. I have learned a great deal as a result of these events, and I hope others will, too.”
Rose’s interview show is seen in 94 per cent of the country on PBS stations. It is rebroadcast on Bloomberg’s cable network, which also announced Monday it was suspending the show. He interviews a wide circle of people in the media, politics and entertainment — this month including Harvard President Drew Faust, rapper Macklemore and the Post’s Robert Costa, who talked about that paper’s sexual harassment investigation of Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore.
He also hosts “CBS This Morning” with Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell, a critically-acclaimed morning news programs which has been gaining the past few years on its better-known rivals. Rose also conducts interviews for “60 Minutes.”
Despite his age and heart troubles in the past, Rose had been one of the busiest figures in television.
Two hours after the Post story went online, one of its authors, Amy Brittain, tweeted that “sadly, my inbox is already flooded with women who have had similar, disturbing encounters with Charlie Rose.”
Rose owned his interview show, even though PBS distributed it, and that raised questions of what recourse women who had complaints about his behaviour could do. The Post quoted Yvette Vega, his longtime executive producer, as saying she failed and deeply regretted not helping women who complained about his behaviour.
But it apparently was a poorly-kept secret in the industry. Two former employees interviewed by the Post said young women hired by the show were known as “Charlie’s Angels.” A Post contributing writer who worked on the story said she was reporting on some of the allegations while working at another news organization in 2010 but could not confirm them.
Stories of sexual misconduct have been coming in a flood since The New York Times first reported on Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein’s behaviour in early October. Even on Monday, the Times suspended White House reporter Glenn Thrush while it looked into a story about him making drunken, unwanted advances on women. In the news business alone, NBC political reporter Mark Halperin and top National Public Radio news executive Michael Oreskes have lost their jobs.
Interviewed last April outside a Time magazine gala, Rose was asked by The Associated Press about Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, who lost his job when it was revealed his network had paid millions of dollars to settle claims women had made against him.
“All of the cases that raise the issue of sexual harassment, which is a terrible thing, (and) has probably been not exposed enough,” Rose said. “Not enough in the sense of the attention in the past, so that people were afraid to come forward. I think people are coming forward now.”
David Bauder, The Associated Press