CBS has formally fired Charlie Rose from the network in the wake of multiple sexual misconduct allegations, CBS News President David Rhodes announced in an internal memo sent to staff on Tuesday.
Rhodes called the claims against Rose, which were made by eight women to The Washington Post, “extremely disturbing and intolerable behavior.”
“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,” the memo read. “I’ve often heard that things used to be different. And no one may be able to correct the past. But what may once have been accepted should not ever have been acceptable.
“CBS News has reported on extraordinary revelations at other media companies this year and last,” it continued. “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. 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 initially suspended by CBS, PBS, and Bloomberg after The Washington Post published a report on Monday about the allegations. Eight different women who worked or aspired to work for Charlie Rose on PBS claimed he groped their bodies, walked around naked in their presence, and made lewd phone calls — among other unwanted behavior.
Rose apologized for his actions in a statement issued to the publication. “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,” he said in part. “Nevertheless, in the past few days, claims have been made about my behavior toward some former female colleagues. It is essential that these women know I hear them and that 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.”
Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell, Rose’s cohosts on CBS This Morning, opened Tuesday morning’s show with a frank discussion on the allegations.
“I am not okay,” King said. “After reading that article in The Washington Post, it was deeply disturbing, troubling, and painful for me to read. That said, I think we have to make this matter to women — the women that have spoken up, the women who have not spoken up because they’re afraid. I’m hoping that now they will take the step to speak up, too, that this becomes a moment of truth.”
“Let me be very clear,” O’Donnell noted, “there is no excuse for this alleged behavior. It is systematic and pervasive, and I’ve been doing a lot of listening and I will continue to do that. This I know is true: women cannot achieve equality in the workplace or in society until there is a reckoning and a taking of responsibility.”