On Monday, journalist Charlie Rose was suspended from CBS, PBS and Bloomberg LP after the Washington Post published a report in which eight women accused him of sexual harassment. PBS and Bloomberg distribute his self-produced Charlie Rose show, and he’s a co-host of CBS This Morning.
On Tuesday’s CBS This Morning, co-hosts Norah O’Donnell and Gayle King addressed the allegations against Rose, saying that they’re struggling with the fact that their friend did such inappropriate things, but that he and others like him have to be held accountable in order to achieve equality for women in the workplace.
“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,” said O’Donnell. “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.
“I’m really proud to work at CBS News,” she continued. “There are so many incredible people here especially on this show. All of you here. This will be investigated. This has to end. This behavior is wrong.”
“I really am still reeling,” said King. “I got an hour and 42 minutes of sleep last night, both my son and my daughter called me. Oprah called me and said, ‘Are you okay?’ I am not okay. After reading that article in the Post, it was deeply disturbing, troubling and painful for me to read. The women that have spoken up, the women who have not spoken up because they’re afraid, I’m hoping now they will take the step to speak up, too.
“This becomes a moment of truth. I’ve enjoyed a friendship and a partnership with Charlie for the past five years,” King said. “I’ve held him in such high regard, and I’m 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? I’m really grappling with that. That said, Charlie does not get a pass here. He doesn’t get a pass from anyone in this room. We are all affected by this. We are all rocked by this.”
Neither King nor O’Donnell have spoken with Rose since the story broke.
On Monday, Rose apologized, issuing a statement that read in part: “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.”
The Washington Post‘s report details accusations of sexual harassment from eight women who worked for or wanted to work for his show. The stories include allegations of unwanted touching, lascivious phone calls and walking around naked in front of them.
(Full disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS.)