CBS fired Charlie Rose on Tuesday, a day after multiple women accused him of sexual misconduct. Not long afterward, PBS canceled distribution of his self-titled nightly interview program.
David Rhodes, president of CBS News, told staff members in an internal email that Rose, a host of “CBS This Morning” and a “60 Minutes” correspondent, had been let go after allegations were raised “of extremely disturbing and intolerable behavior said to have revolved around his PBS program.”
PBS, which had been the longtime home of “Charlie Rose,” released a statement 70 minutes after CBS cut ties with the host.
“In light of yesterday’s revelations, PBS has terminated its relationship with Charlie Rose and canceled distribution of his programs,” the nonprofit broadcaster said in its statement. “PBS expects all the producers we work with to provide a workplace where people feel safe and are treated with dignity and respect.”
Bloomberg TV, which also carried “Charlie Rose” and provided the studio for it, announced that it had terminated its rebroadcast agreement soon after the PBS announcement.
The consequences for Rose were swift after The Washington Post reported that eight women, three of whom were on the record, said that Rose had made crude sexual advances.
In a statement Monday, Rose, 75, said, “I am greatly embarrassed. I have behaved insensitively at times, and I accept responsibility for that. I always felt that I was pursuing shared feelings, even though I now realize I was mistaken.”
Rose had been a constant presence on television since starting the “Charlie Rose” show on the New York PBS affiliate WNET in 1991. The show, which was broadcast nationally starting in 1994, was produced by the host’s independent television production company.
Rose had also been a host of the CBS morning show since 2012. He joined “60 Minutes II” as a correspondent in 1999. After that show was canceled, he joined “60 Minutes” in 2008.
On Tuesday, Rose’s former co-hosts, Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell, addressed the allegations in the opening minutes of “CBS This Morning.”
“I’ve enjoyed a friendship and a partnership with Charlie for the past five years,” King said. “I have held him in such high regard. And I am really struggling. Because how do you — what do you say when someone that you deeply care about has done something that is so horrible. How do you wrap your brain around that?”
With Rose aboard, the network had found some success in the early hours of the day for the first time. Although it still trails NBC’s “Today” and ABC’s “Good Morning America” in the Nielsen ratings, “CBS This Morning” has narrowed what was once a significant gap.
Rose had been a centerpiece of the turnaround. The network even gave him prime speaking position at a network presentation held for advertisers and members of the press in May.
Usually a lively, news-focused broadcast, the show was grim Tuesday, with Rose absent. King faced the camera and said, “None of us ever thought that we’d be sitting at this table in particular and telling this story. But here we are.”
The opening 10 minutes were devoted to an unvarnished account of the allegations against Rose, including a snippet from a media critic, James Warren, who said the veteran broadcaster’s career was “probably toast.”
“This one does hit close to home,” said Bianna Golodryga, the CBS News correspondent who delivered the report.
In his email to staff, Rhodes continued, “CBS News 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.”
As a wave of harassment claims has cascaded across industries, CBS joined other news organizations that have carried out the delicate task of covering allegations against their own employees.
Mark Halperin of NBC News; Leon Wieseltier, the former New Republic literary editor; and Michael Oreskes, National Public Radio’s top editor, are among the prominent media figures to have been accused of sexual misconduct. On Monday, The New York Times suspended Glenn Thrush, one of its White House correspondents, after the website Vox published an article in which women described him engaging in inappropriate sexual behavior. On “CBS This Morning,” O’Donnell praised the women who spoke to The Washington Post and other news outlets about Rose’s behavior.
“This is a moment that demands a frank and honest assessment about where we stand and more generally the safety of women,” O’Donnell said. “Let me be very clear: There is no excuse for this alleged behavior. It is systematic and pervasive. And I’ve been doing a lot of listening and I’m going to continue to do that.”
O’Donnell added: “Women cannot achieve equality in the workplace or in society until there is a reckoning and a taking of responsibility. This will be investigated. This has to end. This behavior is wrong, period.”
Rhodes expressed similar sentiments.
“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 in his email. “We need to be such a place.
“I’ve often heard that things used to be different,” he continued. “And no one may be able to correct the past. But what may once have been accepted should not ever have been acceptable.”