Former ‘CBS This Morning’ Anchor Charlie Rose Admits to Flirting With His Accusers and Co-Hosts

The #MeToo movement that began over two years ago took down a plethora of Hollywood powerhouses as well as heavy hitters in the world of network news. In November 2017, renowned journalist Charlie Rose was fired as lead anchor of CBS This Morning after eight women accused him of sexual misconduct, according to the Washington Post. Reports of Rose’s documented comments on the alleged behavior have recently surfaced.

Charlie Rose | Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

Initial reactions from King and O’Donnell

CBS This Morning’s current lead anchor Gayle King worked alongside Rose on the daily news program since its launch in 2012. She and co-host Norah O’Donnell were rocked by the news of the allegations against Rose. “There is no excuse for this alleged behavior,” O’Donnell said on the air after the announcement in 2017. “This I know is true. Women cannot achieve equality in the work place or in society until there is a reckoning and a taking of responsibility.”

King was clearly distressed by the unthinkable news of Rose, her colleague and someone she considered a friend. “I really am still reeling,” she said, according to the Hollywood Reporter. “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 OK?’ I am not OK… 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.”

“I’m really proud to work at CBS News,” O’Donnell said. “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.”

King says Rose is not ‘dead to me’

King shared her conflicted feelings on hearing such appalling accusations against Rose during the tumultuous broadcast in November 2017. “I’ve enjoyed a friendship and a partnership with Charlie for the past five years,” King shared. “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? 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.” 

Despite Rose’s high-profile fall from grace, King revealed she kept in contact with the news man, telling the Washington Post, “I don’t believe that you abandon your friends. You have people that have done far more heinous things that are forgiven. But comeback doesn’t mean that you get to come back to doing what you were doing before.” King told the Hollywood Reporter, “Charlie is not on my you’re-dead-to-me list.”

Rose’s deposition

Rose was sued by three female former CBS employees over sexual harassment allegations, according to People. The disgraced news anchor admitted in his November 14 deposition that he heard himself being referred to by other employees in the network’s office as “Charlie f****n Rose,” though he said he did not refer to himself by that nickname.

Rose responded “yes” when asked if he would flirt with co-hosts King and O’Donnell. When Rose was asked if he physically touched King or O’Donnell, Rose said, “All of us would in one way or the other touch each other, on the arm, hug each other.” He added that he believed hugs and kisses on the cheek were used only when the colleagues “were greeting each other, saying hello or if we were saying goodbye,” as stated in the deposition. Rose stated he may have kissed female employees on the lips in “some special circumstances.” He added that he probably kissed male colleagues in the same fashion but couldn’t remember specifically of those instances.

Charlie Rose | Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

People reported that Rose also admitted he hugged and kissed two of the women suing him  — Brooks Harris and Sydney McNeal — and engaged in flirtatious behavior with the third plaintiff Chelsea Wei. When asked if he thought this behavior was “appropriate,” Rose replied, “No one seemed to object.”

CBS had not responded to People’s request for comment, according to the article.