Charlie Rose, former high-profile journalist and host of CBS This Morning, was accused three years ago of sexual misconduct in the workplace and subsequently fired from his jobs at CBS and PBS. At the time, Rose suggested that the three women who came forward with the charges only did so because of the momentum behind the #MeToo movement. Similarly, a series of sexual harassment allegations against NBC’s Matt Lauer surfaced in 2018, to which Lauer referred to as “false stories.”
And then, art imitated life when Apple TV+ released The Morning Show, which followed the story of disgraced newsperson Mitch Kessler (Steve Carell), who was ousted by his network for inappropriate relationships with women. And just like Kessler, it appears Rose wasn’t as innocent as he first claimed.
On Monday, the former anchor has admitted to “flirting” with his co-anchors and engaging in relationships with women he worked with workplace. These admissions came to light in recent court documents that clearly hold Rose responsible for many of the accusations he’s faced over the course of three years time.
Most jarring, Rose admitted flirting with former CBS co-hosts Gayle King, Norah O’Donnell and Bianna Golodryga, and that he was aware King sometimes referred to him as “Charlie f-----' Rose,” in a November deposition. The disgraced host also admitted that he has had romantic relationships with women he worked with over the course of his 45-year career and told lawyers that he now understands why the relationships were “inappropriate.”
According to the filed documents, Rose said that he is now using the word “inappropriate” to describe his actions because of how things have changed over the course of his tenure in news. “We have now come to understand and appreciate that romantic relationships or intimacies were not appropriate in the workplace,” he said. “There was power and balance.”
Although he declined to go into detail about names and specifics of his relationships, Rose also defended himself, explaining he frequently gave hugs and kisses on the cheek while greeting people he was friendly with at work. When asked, “Are there any males you kissed?” he responded, “I’m sure there are,” but was unable to name anyone, according to the deposition.
“No one seemed to object,” he told a lawyer representing three women who are involved in an ongoing lawsuit against him, though he seemed to remain willfully obtuse about the power balance he had acknowledged elsewhere in the deposition.
The suit was filed in May 2018 by three former CBS employees, Katherine Brooks Harris, Sydney McNeal, and Yuqing “Chelsea” Wei. The women claim they were subjected to “ongoing and unlawful physical and verbal sexual harassment” when they worked with Rose, including touching, lewd comments, and sexual advances. CBS News has settled with the three women, but the suit against Rose is ongoing.
Prior to that, in November of 2017, eight women accused Rose of sexual misconduct in a stunning report in The Washington Post that outlined two decades of unwanted advances and groping.
Rose’s case is hitting the courts at the same time as the Harvey Weinstein case, albeit with slightly less fanfare. Still, along with mirroring allegations against Lauer, powerful men in media are finally being called out for their actions. And as witnesses or allegations continue to come to light in Weinstein’s case, there seems to be an imminent (and maybe forced) need for accountability on all fronts.