An extensive investigation by the Washington Post into the conduct of former CBS and PBS host Charlie Rose found the longtime newsman’s sexual misconduct was not only far more extensive than previously known at CBS News and elsewhere, but that Rose’s reputation for sexual harassment was known to managers at the network. Rose, most recently the host of CBS This Morning, was fired in November after eight women accused the 76-year-old of making “unwanted sexual advances toward them, including lewd phone calls, walking around naked in their presence, or groping their breasts, buttocks or genital areas,” the Post reported at the time.
On Thursday, the Post published 27 new allegations, 14 by CBS News employees and 13 by colleagues elsewhere, spanning more than 40 years. Rose’s behavior was known to managers at the network as early as 1986 and the warnings persisted, with the latest coming as recently as April 2017, months before he was fired. “The new allegations against Rose date to 1976, when, according to a former research assistant, he exposed his penis and touched her breasts in the NBC News Washington bureau where they worked,” the Post reports. “At CBS News, where in addition to the morning show Rose worked as a contributing correspondent for 60 Minutes, some women who said they were harassed said they feared reporting the violations to executives, whom they viewed as prioritizing the careers of male stars.” CBS News said it never received any human resources complaints about Rose’s inappropriate behavior.
That doesn’t mean that executives at the network didn’t know what was going on however. In 1986, while Rose was filling in as an anchor on CBS Morning News, a 22-year-old news clerk reported to her senior producer boss that Rose had asked her if she liked sex and how often she liked to have it such that she didn’t feel comfortable being alone with Rose. Another female assistant producer said Rose would sometimes answer the door to his home naked, holding a towel when she was tasked with dropping off work materials for him. The conduct was well known enough, the Post reports, that “[w]hen Susan MacArthur was interviewing in the late 1990s for a job to be Rose’s assistant, she said, a CBS News executive told her to ‘steer clear’ because of the host’s history of ‘questionable behavior.’” “She looked me dead in the eyes and said, ‘You are going to be working alone with this man and being alone with this man in his hotel, and you need to think really hard about whether you want to do this,’ ” MacArthur told the Post.
The behavior continued, however, up until Rose was fired by CBS News and his talk show was cancelled by PBS. Rose’s sexual misconduct made its way to higher-ups at CBS as recently as last year, when the executive producer of CBS This Morning was flagged by his assistant concerned about his unwanted sexual advances to a 24-year-old employee. This followed a 2011 when the host forcibly kissed a morning show employee at a work party. The staffer reported Rose’s advance to the show’s executive producer at the time, but insisted that he not pass along the information to HR.
One employee, Sophie Gayter, who says she was groped by Rose in 2013 while working at 60 Minutes, offered this devastating description of the work culture at CBS News: “People said what they wanted to you, people did what they wanted to you.”
Rose offered a one-line email denial to the Post’s story: “Your story is unfair and inaccurate.”