Last November, when accusations against longtime CBS News stalwart Charlie Rose involving sexual harassment came to light, the network took swift and decisive action. They fired Rose almost immediately, and PBS dropped him as well. So that was handled quickly and properly to the great credit of the network, right? That’s what we thought at the time, but it might not be as much of a done deal as originally imagined.
To be honest, Rose’s part in the #MeToo moment came and went so quickly that I had to go back and do some searching to make sure it had happened. He was called out during that period when famous people were falling like leaves in autumn and the press had quickly moved on to the next, more interesting harasser. But now the story might be about to come back to the front page, only this time it’s not so much to do with Rose himself, but how the network has been handling his situation. Bear in mind that this is coming from Page Six at the moment, and make of that what you will, but there are a lot of rumors running around supporting the idea that a major development is about to break and the executives at CBS are looking very nervous.
CBS has been using NDAs to try to suppress potential sources for an upcoming exposé about Charlie Rose’s sexual misconduct. And top network execs who worked on Rose’s shows are panicking that they’ll be accused of turning a blind eye to his sexual misconduct.
We’re told that CBS News president David Rhodes, “CBS This Morning” executive producer Ryan Kadro, “60 Minutes” executive producer Jeff Fager and former “CBS This Morning” executive producer Chris Licht are all terrified about a looming Washington Post investigation that’s now been in the works for months.
“There are a lot of executives looking around corners, hoping they’re not named in the story,” an industry insider told us. “[CBS is] trying to suppress [the story] by using the NDAs.” Meanwhile, said the source, “Jeff, Ryan and David are all waiting for the other shoe to drop.”
If CBS actually did have NDAs in place preventing women from talking about how well known Rose’s “issues” were and how widespread the problem was, this ceases being a story about Charlie Rose and becomes one which gives a black eye to the upper management. This is the same network which talked about how “brave” Stormy Daniels was to come on 60 Minutes in defiance of threats against her over her own NDA. But if they’ve been threatening women in their own organization with penalties which “will be enforced” (according to the unnamed sources referenced in this report) then some different heads will need to roll. And those will probably be people at the highest levels in the network.
Assuming this is true, it brings the entire #MeToo conversation back to an underlying issue in nearly every industry. Yes, powerful men who abuse the power of their positions to sexually harass or assault women are the real monsters and they need to be held accountable. But such situations would never have been able to fester and drag on for years without the either explicit or implicit “support” of managerial organizations who remained silent, shielded the perpetrators and sometimes paid off victims to keep them silent and maintain the status quo.
Put a news alert in your feed for the names of the CBS executives listed above. If this shoe drops it’s going to land with an enormous crash.