Broadcast giant Charlie Rose was suspended from PBS, CBS and Bloomberg on Monday, amid allegations that he used fear and intimidation for more than a decade to prey on women he sexually harassed while they worked for him.
Rose’s thorny side includes disturbing allegations that the longtime television host exposed himself to women, groped their breasts, buttocks and genitals, and made sexually charged phone calls over the course of more than 10 years.
The broadcaster, now the subject in the latest chapter of a sexual harassment saga he has helped cover for months, disputed some of the accusations but apologized for his behavior amid a “deeper recognition of the pain” he caused.
“In my 45 years in journalism, I have prided myself on being an advocate for the careers of the women with whom I have worked,” Rose said in a statement. “Nevertheless, in the past few days, claims have been made about my behavior toward some former female colleagues. It is essential that these women know I hear them and that I deeply apologize for my inappropriate behavior,” said Rose, longtime host of the “Charlie Rose” show on PBS. He also co-hosted “CBS This Morning” and contributed to “60 Minutes.
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“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.”
Rose was divorced in 1980.
According to The Washington Post, eight women came forward — three on the record — with sordid stories about Rose’s abusive behavior.
While he appeared to his TV audience as a highbrow, intellectual and grandfatherly communicator, his accusers tell a story of a lecherous, spiteful boss who once fired an aide when he learned she shared her ordeal with another colleague.
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“Everybody is terrified of him,” according to one accuser, who said Rose groped her when she was an intern. “He creates this environment of constant fear. And then he’ll shine a spotlight on you and make you feel amazing.”
In extensive interviews with The Post, the women recounted how Rose made unwanted sexual advances while they worked or hoped to work on his namesake PBS show. The unwelcome acts date from the late 1990s to as recently as 2011.
Ranging in age from 21 to 37, a number of the accusers spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation from the veteran TV host. They said Rose, 75, often switched between anger and flattery as he made predatory advances.
Just hours after the Post story went online, PBS suspended Rose, calling the allegations against him “deeply disturbing.”
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CBS and Bloomberg followed suit shortly afterward, suspending Rose indefinitely.
“These allegations are extremely disturbing, and we take them very seriously,” a CBS spokeswoman said.
Hours after the allegations surfaced, three more women who interned for Rose came forward with similar stories in an article Business Insider published.
Rose’s interview show is seen in 94% of the country on PBS stations. It is rebroadcast on Bloomberg’s cable network.
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Among Rose’s accusers was Kyle Godfrey-Ryan, who recalled how Rose would humiliate her in front of other employees, calling her stupid and pathetic. But after the rage, Rose would flip.
“It would usually entail some version of him also touching me,” she said. “A hand on the upper thigh. He’d give a hug but touch the side of the breast.”
Soon, she said, Rose began pestering her with late-night phone calls.
“It would be wanting to know details of my sex life,” she said. “Who’s next to you? What do you do? Is he touching you? And I was like, ‘OK, Charlie, I’ll see you tomorrow.’ I just acted like it wasn’t happening.”
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She also recalled how Rose would walk in front of her completely naked while she was working at one of his New York City residences.
“He was getting more and more frustrated that I wouldn’t engage,” she said.
After several such incidents, Godfrey-Ryan told a friend. The friend confronted Rose, and shortly thereafter Godfrey-Ryan was fired.
Reah Bravo, an intern on Rose’s show in 2007, said Rose made similar advances while she worked at his private waterfront estate in Bellport, L.I. She also said Rose harassed her while they were traveling together.
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Bravo would stay at the Bellport house for days at a time, and she remembered feeling uncomfortable when Rose came up behind her and placed his arms around her. But Bravo needed the income and stayed on to help him prepare interviews and speeches. It all came to a head when Bravo traveled with Rose to Indiana for a speaking event in March 2008.
At one point on the trip, Rose called Bravo to his hotel room to work on a speech. While she sat at a desk, Rose came out of the shower completely naked and strode around the room. Bravo said she became visibly uncomfortable but ignored him and kept working.
Later, the two got on a small private jet and Rose got out of his seat and pressed himself against Bravo.
“I felt at a loss,” Bravo said. “I mean, what am I going to do? We were how many feet up in the air?”
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Bravo quit shortly thereafter, when she was offered another job.
Another woman said an associate introduced her to Rose after she expressed hope about breaking into broadcast journalism.
After a number of casual meetings over food and drinks, Rose invited the woman to his Bellport home to discuss a potential position.
She recalled how Rose, who seemed intoxicated, then tried to force his hand down her pants.
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“By the time he touched me the first time, he was already very angry,” she said. “I was scared, and I was also kind of frozen.”
She rebuffed the attempt, but Rose tried again, at which point the woman started crying.
“Baby, oh baby, why are you crying?” Rose apparently said in response.
The woman never got the job.
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