UPDATE: CBS News has fired Charlie Rose after several women accused the veteran newsman of sexual misconduct.
Charlie Rose has been suspended by CBS News after becoming the latest media figure to be accused of sexual harassment when eight women came forward to describe unwanted advances, including lewd phone calls, parading naked, and groping their breasts, buttocks or genital areas.
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The accusations, detailed by the Washington Post, were brought by women who were employees or aspired to work for the host at the Charlie Rose show from the late 1990s to 2011.
Rose, 75, whose eponymous show airs on PBS, also serves as a host on CBS This Morning and as a correspondent for 60 Minutes.
PBS said it was halting distribution of the interview program and CBS suspended him in the wake of the news.
According to the report, Rose’s accusers ranged in age from 21 to 37 at the time of the alleged incidents. Three went on the record by name.
As with previous accusations against media, showbusiness and political figures that have surfaced almost daily since allegations first emerged against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, there are consistencies in the accounts.
One of the women, Kyle Godfrey-Ryan, a former assistant, recalled at least a dozen instances where Rose walked nude in front of her. He also repeatedly, it is alleged, called Godfrey-Ryan, then aged 21, late at night or early in the morning to describe his fantasies of her swimming naked in the pool at his country house.
Five described Rose putting his hand on their legs, sometimes their upper thigh. Two said he had emerged from the shower and walked naked in front of them. One said he groped her buttocks at a staff party.
Six others contacted by the Post said they saw what they considered to be harassment, and eight said they were uncomfortable with Rose’s treatment of female employees.
In a statement, Rose said he prided himself on being “an advocate for the careers of women with whom I have worked”. But he acknowledged that his behavior toward some employees had been inappropriate.
“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. I always felt that I was pursuing shared feelings, even though I now realize I was mistaken.”
He continued: “I have learned a great deal as a result of these events, and I hope others will too. 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.”
Reah Bravo, who worked as an associate producer for Rose’s PBS show beginning in 2007, said the host’s unwanted advances occurred at his country home and while traveling with him in cars, in a hotel suite and on a private plane.
“It has taken 10 years and a fierce moment of cultural reckoning for me to understand these moments for what they were,” she told the Post. “He was a sexual predator, and I was his victim.”
Rose’s longtime producer Yvette Vega acknowledged that she should have done more to protect the young women who worked on the show. “I should have stood up for them,” she said. “I failed. It is crushing. I deeply regret not helping them.”
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