PBS said Tuesday it was parting ways with Charlie Rose, and CBS announced it fired the 75-year-old broadcaster for “extremely disturbing and intolerable behavior” following an extensive Washington Post report that detailed his alleged unwanted sexual advances toward women.
Hours later, CBS Evening News reported three other women alleged they were subjected to “unwanted sexual contact” from Rose while working at CBS News.
His firing was announced by CBS News President David Rhodes, who wrote in a midday memo to the network’s staff that it was “effective immediately.”
“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,” Rhodes wrote. “We need to be such a place.”
PBS terminated its relationship with Rose and canceled distribution of his programs “in light of yesterday’s revelations,” spokeswoman Jennifer Rankin Byrne said in a statement. Rose’s namesake interview program is produced by Charlie Rose Inc., an independent television production company.
“PBS expects all the producers we work with to provide a workplace where people feel safe and are treated with dignity and respect,” Byrne said.
Rose — best known for his award-winning interview program on PBS — had co-hosted “CBS This Morning” since the show’s launch in 2012 and was a contributing correspondent for the network’s Sunday night news magazine, “60 Minutes.”
CBS News suspended Rose on Monday, shortly after The Post’s story published. Bloomberg TV terminated its rebroadcast agreement with Charlie Rose.
Eight women, who were either employees or aspired to work for Rose at the “Charlie Rose” show, told The Post he made unwanted sexual advances to them between the late 1990s and 2011.
Those advances included lewd phone calls, walking around naked in their presence, or groping their breasts, buttocks or genital areas, the women said.
In a statement provided to The Post on Monday — and later posted on social media — Rose said: “I deeply apologize for my inappropriate behavior. 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.”
In the nearly two months since the New York Times published an expose on Harvey Weinstein and his history of alleged sexual misconduct, the country has been going through a national reckoning with such behavior. Powerful men from across industries — media, Hollywood, and politics among them — have been implicated, including household names such as Louis CK, Kevin Spacey and Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn).
It has become almost a daily occurrence to see a powerful man in the headlines facing accusations of misconduct. On the very same day Rose’s scandal broke, the New York Times suspended star journalist Glenn Thrush for allegedly crossing the line with young female colleagues, and BuzzFeed News reported Rep. John Conyers Jr., the Democratic dean of the House of Representatives, had settled a wrongful termination suit with a woman who claimed to have been fired for rebuffing his advances.
In less than 24 hours since The Post reported on allegations against Rose, the situation was acknowledged on “CBS Evening News,” where interim anchor Anthony Mason said Monday “the wave of sexual abuse allegations we’ve been reporting from Hollywood to Washington have now touched CBS News.”
On Tuesday morning, in a remarkable segment, Rose’s broadcast partners on “CBS This Morning” slipped out of their newswoman roles to speak as people, full of anger and bewilderment and betrayal.
“This is a moment that demands a frank and honest assessment about where we stand and more generally the safety of women,” Norah O’Donnell said. “Let me be very clear: There is no excuse for this alleged behavior. It is systematic and pervasive. . . . This has to end. This behavior is wrong. Period.”
Her co-host, Gayle King, said she had barely slept. The Post article, King said, “was deeply disturbing, troubling and painful for me to read.”
She added: “I am deeply rocked by this.”
Rhodes, the CBS News president, wrote in his staff memo that the network’s news operation “has reported on extraordinary revelations at other media companies this year and last. Our credibility in that reporting requires credibility managing basic standards of behavior. That is why we have taken these actions.
“Let’s please remember our obligations to each other as colleagues. We will have human resources support today and every day, and we are organizing more personal and direct training which you will hear about from senior management shortly.”
He added: “I’m deeply disappointed and angry that people were victimized — and that even people not connected with these events could see their hard work undermined. If all of us commit to the best behavior and the best work — that is what we can be known for.”
Rose was one of the best-regarded names in TV news. His 2013 interview with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad won him both an Emmy and a Peabody Award, and in 2015 he received the Walter Cronkite Excellence in Journalism Award.
Marwa Eltagouri and Amy B Wang contributed to this report, which has been updated.