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Fired CBS News anchor Charlie Rose’s sexual misconduct was widespread over 40 years, report says

Charlie Rose
More than two dozen more women have come forward with sexual misconduct allegations against fired CBS News anchor Charlie Rose, shown here in October 2017, had according to the Washington Post..
(Andy Kropa / Invision)

Fired CBS News anchor Charlie Rose’s sexual misconduct was widespread and occurred over decades, according to an investigation published Thursday in the Washington Post.

The report alleges that three CBS News executives were made aware of Rose’s conduct.

But CBS News said its human resources department never received a harassment complaint about Rose until after his termination in November.

Rose, 76, was fired from “CBS This Morning” and “60 Minutes,” after eight women who worked at his PBS talk show told the Post he had groped them, exposed himself or spoke to them inappropriately. PBS also canceled the nightly talk show, “Charlie Rose.”

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The new Post report has 27 women, including 14 who worked at CBS News, alleging they were harassed by Rose. Rose is accused in one incident of exposing his penis and touching the breasts of a co-worker at the Washington bureau of NBC News where they worked in 1976.

Rose’s email response to the new allegations raised by the Post said: “Your story is unfair and inaccurate.”

CBS News said in a statement that it “could not corroborate or confirm” the accounts in the Post story, one of which dates back to 1986. The news division said in a statement that since Rose’s departure it has stepped up efforts to deal with inappropriate workplace behavior and has hired employment lawyers from the firm Proskauer Rose LLP to advise the company.

“Since we terminated Charlie Rose, we’ve worked to strengthen existing systems to ensure a safe environment where everyone can do their best work,” the statement read. “Some of the actions we have taken have been reported publicly, some have not. We offer employees discretion and fairness, and we take swift action when we learn of unacceptable behavior. That said, we cannot corroborate or confirm many of the situations described. We continue to look for ways to improve our workplace and this period of reflection and action has been important to all of us. We are not done with this process.”

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The incidents alleged to have happened at CBS range from 1986, when Rose was an anchor on the overnight program “Nightwatch,” to 2017 at “60 Minutes.”

Most of the accounts are from unnamed sources who said they feared retribution for speaking out. The Post said it corroborated specific accounts with witnesses or people in whom they confided.

The story quotes Sophie Gayter, a former “60 Minutes” employee, who said Rose grabbed her buttocks as she walked down the hallway of the newsmagazine’s office in 2013.

Some women told the newspaper they feared going to executives about the incidents. The Post quoted Gayter as saying that “people did what they wanted to you.”

“60 Minutes” Executive Producer Jeff Fager said he was never aware of Rose acting inappropriately. Fager brought Rose to “60 Minutes” as a correspondent in 1998 and was chairman of CBS News when the anchor joined “CBS This Morning.”

The story describes incidents that were brought to the attention of two executive producers who supervised Rose.

A “CBS This Morning” employee who said she was forcibly kissed by Rose at a party in late 2011 told Chris Licht, then the executive producer of the program, about the incident shortly after it occurred, the Post reported. But Licht was asked by the woman not to bring the issue up to human resources. Licht told the Post he respected the woman’s wishes but that he did address the matter with Rose.

CBS News said Licht’s response was appropriate at the time, although the company has since changed its policy and requires all harassment complaints to be reported to human resources.

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stephen.battaglio@latimes.com

Twitter: @SteveBattaglio


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