CBS fired Charlie Rose on Tuesday, a day after the television host was suspended after eight women accused him of exposing himself and groping their breasts, buttocks and genitals over the course of at least a decade.
“A short time ago we terminated Charlie Rose’s employment with CBS News, effective immediately,” CBS News President David Rhodes wrote in a note to staff.
“This followed the revelation yesterday of extremely disturbing and intolerable behavior said to have revolved around his PBS program. Despite Charlie’s important journalistic contribution to our news division, there is absolutely nothing more important, in this or any organization, than ensuring a safe, professional workplace – a supportive environment where people feel they can do their best work. We need to be such a place.”
Rose’s accusers, ranging in age from 21 to 37 at the times of the alleged incidents, told the Washington Post that the veteran TV host made unwanted sexual advances from the 1990s until 2011. Five of the women refused to reveal their names because they said they fear retaliation.
Rose, 75, co-hosts “CBS This Morning” and also makes appearances on “60 Minutes.” He won the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism in 2015.
“Most of the women said Rose alternated between fury and flattery in his interactions with them,” the Post reported. “Five described Rose putting his hand on their legs, sometimes their upper thigh, in what they perceived as a test to gauge their reactions. Two said that while they were working for Rose at his residences or were traveling with him on business, he emerged from the shower and walked naked in front of them. One said he groped her buttocks at a staff party.”
Rose has apologized for his “inappropriate behavior,” but he claimed the encounters were consensual.
“In my 45 years in journalism, I have prided myself on being an advocate for the careers of the women with whom I have worked. It is essential that these women know I hear them and that I deeply apologize,” Rose wrote in a statement published Monday by the Post.
“I am greatly embarrassed. I have 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.”
Rose mentioned the recent sexual harassment allegations against high-profile figures and said he has “learned a great deal as a a result of these events.”
“All of us, including me, are coming to a newer and deeper recognition of the pain caused by conduct in the past, and have come to a profound new respect for women and their lives,” he said.
PBS has suspended Rose, saying the allegations against him are “deeply disturbing.” CBS has suspended him indefinitely.
Rose’s CBS co-anchors Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell told their audience Tuesday that they were shaken by the allegations.
“None of us ever thought we’d be sitting at this table in particular telling this story, but here we are,” said King. “This is not the man I know, but I’m clearly on the side of the women who have been very hurt and very damaged by this.”
During remarks delivered just after the show opened with a report on the allegations against Rose, O’Donnell said, “Let me be clear: There is no excuse for this alleged behavior. This I know is true: women cannot achieve equality in the workplace or society until there is reckoning.
“This will be investigated. This has to end. This behavior is wrong, period,” she added.
One of Rose’s accusers is a woman named Reah Bravo, 29, who was an unpaid intern an later an associate producer for the “Charlie Rose” show in 2007. She claims Rose harassed her when she worked at his waterfront home in Bellport, Long Island, and also at a hotel, aboard a private jet and while they traveled in cars together.
“It has taken 10 years and a fierce moment of cultural reckoning for me to understand these moments for what they were,” Bravo said. “He was a sexual predator, and I was his victim.”
Bravo said Rose allowed her to stay and work at his Bellport home since her internship was unpaid.
“Here is the deal: I’ll pay you $2,500 for the week plus all expenses for food, movie etc.,” Rose reportedly wrote in an Aug, 9, 2007, email. “Your primary responsibilities are to organize and catalogue all my books and tapes and files … It will help me a lot, be fun for you, and you will have a car all the time for whatever you need to do.”
Bravo claims Rose groped her more than once. On one occasion, she said, he “grabbed me by my hair, holding a fist of it at the base of my scalp. … [H]e would grip my head tightly while talking to me. He held it so tightly that I couldn’t turn my neck in any direction. I was forced to look at him or to let him talk directly in my ear.”
Another accuser, Kyle Godfrey-Ryan, was an assistant to Rose in the mid-2000s when she was 21 years old. She said Rose walked around one of his New York City homes nude in front of her at least a dozen times. She told the Post he called her several times to discuss his fantasies of her swimming naked in his Bellport pool as he watched her from his bedroom.
“It feels branded into me, the details of it,” Godfrey-Ryan told the paper.
She claims she told Rose’s executive producer, Yvette Vega, about the phone calls.
“I explained how he inappropriately spoke to me during those times,” Godfrey-Ryan said. “She would just shrug and just say, ‘That’s just Charlie being Charlie.'”
Vega, 52, told the Post she should have acted to protect the women at the time.
“I should have stood up for them,” Vega said. “I failed. It is crushing. I deeply regret not helping them.”
Godfrey-Ryan said Rose fired her when he learned she had told a mutual friend about his behavior. She claims he called her at odd hours “wanting to know details of my sex life.”
“Who’s next to you?” she claims he’d ask. “What do you do? Is he touching you? And I was like, ‘OK, Charlie, I’ll see you tomorrow.’ I just acted like it wasn’t happening.”
When Godfrey-Ryan ignored Rose’s nudity, she said, “He was getting more and more frustrated that I wouldn’t engage.”
Another accuser, Megan Creydt, worked on the show from 2005 to 2006. She said she was sitting in the passenger seat of Rose’s Mini Cooper when the TV host made an unwanted sexual advance.
“It was quite early in working there that he put his hand on my mid-thigh,” Creydt told the Post.
She continued: “I don’t think I said anything. I tensed up. I didn’t move his hand off, but I pulled my legs to the other side of the car. I tried not to get in a car with him ever again. I think he was testing me out.”
In addition to the eight accusers, the Post spoke to two-dozen ex-employees who wished to remain anonymous. Six reported seeing harassment. Eight told the paper they were uncomfortable with the way Rose treated women who worked for him. Another 10 said they hadn’t witnessed any behavior that concerned them.
“There are so few jobs,” said one of the anonymous women who accused Rose of groping her. “You know if you don’t behave a certain way, there’s someone else behind you.”
Two ex-employees said young women hired to work for the show were called “Charlie’s Angels.”
“A woman who began as an intern in the late 1990s and was later hired full time described a ‘ritual’ of young women at the show being summoned by Rose to his Manhattan apartment to work at a desk there,” the Post reported. “The woman described a day when Rose went into the bathroom, left the door open and turned on the shower.
“She said he began to call her name, insistently. She ignored him, she said, and continued working. Suddenly, he came out of the bathroom and stood over her. She turned her head, briefly saw skin and Rose with a towel and jerked back around to avoid the sight. She said he said, ‘Didn’t you hear me calling you?’
“She said she told someone in the office, and word got around. A few days later, she said, a male colleague approached her, laughing, ‘Oh, you got the shower trick.'”
Another woman who was hired as an intern in the early 2000s claimed Rose fondled her breasts and stomach when she drove him to Manhattan.
None of the women who made the sexual harassment allegations against Rose worked for CBS or PBS. They all worked at the “Charlie Rose” show, which has been on TV since 1991 and has featured high-profile guests including former President Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey and Warren Buffett. The “Charlie Rose” show is distributed by PBS and filmed at Bloomberg headquarters.
The Post said spokespersons from PBS, CBS and Bloomberg all said they don’t have records of sexual harassment complaints against the TV host.
One woman, who claimed Rose fondled her when she was an intern, told the Post: “Everybody is terrified of him. He creates this environment of constant fear. And then he’ll shine a spotlight on you and make you feel amazing.”