“CBS This Morning” found itself in the uncomfortable position of covering one of its own Tuesday.
The sexual harassment allegations against the program’s co-anchor Charlie Rose appeared in the signature “Eye Opener” segment at the top of the 7 a.m. hour. Rose’s co-anchors, Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell, weighed in at length on the story about their colleague, who was suspended by CBS late Monday after a report in the Washington Post about his alleged misconduct with female employees, interns and job seekers on his PBS talk show.
Rose, 75, was suspended by CBS and his PBS program was halted Monday following the report, in which eight women said they were subjected to inappropriate behavior while working with him. The report said Rose subjected the women to unwanted sexual advances, appeared nude in their presence or groped them.
“There is no excuse for this alleged behavior,” O’Donnell said from the glass table where she usually sits alongside Rose. “It is systematic and pervasive and I’ve been doing a lot of listening and I’m going to continue to do that. This I know is true. Women cannot achieve equality in the work place or in society until there is a reckoning and a taking of responsibility.”
King said she was “reeling” from the revelations about Rose and got little sleep before Tuesday’s edition of “CBS This Morning.“
“We are all rocked by this,” King said. “And I -- I want to echo what Norah said. I really applaud the women that speak up despite the friendship. He doesn’t get a pass because I can’t stop thinking about the anguish of these women, what happened to their dignity, what happened to their bodies, what happened maybe to even their careers.”
King went on to say that she had become friends with Rose over their five years at “CBS This Morning” and had difficulty processing the reports on his behavior.
“What do you say when someone that you deeply care about has done something that is so horrible?” King said. “How do you wrap your brain around that? 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.”
Rose has given a broad apology for the behavior, although his statement said some of the accounts in the Post were not accurate. Rose also said he was under the mistaken impression that he “pursued shared feelings” in the incidents described as harassment.
But Rose, long one of television’s most respected and admired journalists, faces an uncertain future. Several of his co-workers at CBS News, who were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly, said his return is unlikely.
Rose produces and owns his eponymous talk show, which PBS distributed to its member stations. It also aired on Bloomberg TV, which also dropped it Monday. The program has long been highly regarded for Rose’s serious in-depth interviews with major figures in politics, culture and business.
“Charlie Rose” has aired nightly since 1991. Rose has been a contributing correspondent to “60 Minutes” since 1999.
Rose became co-anchor of “CBS This Morning” with King and O’Donnell in 2012. The program saw several consecutive years of audience growth after they joined the program, which has successfully positioned itself as a newsier alternative to NBC’s “Today” and ABC’s “Good Morning America.”