If Charlie Rose thought his “CBS This Morning” co-hosts were going to defend him after his recent scandal, he clearly hadn’t been paying attention.
Anchors Gayle King, 62, and Norah O’Donnell, 43, began Tuesday morning’s broadcast with harsh words for Rose — their co-host since 2012 — who is facing slew of sexual assault accusations.
“It takes a lot of courage for these women to come forward, and I think that they should continue to do so,” O’Donnell started. “This is a moment that demands a frank and honest assessment about where we stand and more generally the safety of women. 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.”
King expressed her disbelief, sharing that she was still “reeling” after conversations with her family and friends.
“Oprah called me and said, ‘Are you okay?’ I am not okay. After reading that article in the [Washington] Post, it was deeply disturbing, troubling and painful for me to read,” she said.
“I’ve enjoyed a friendship and a partnership with Charlie for the last five years. I’ve held him in such high regard,” she said. “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,” King continued. “He does not get a pass from anyone in this room. We are all deeply affected; we are all rocked by this.”
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The Washington Post broke the story Monday evening about the 75-year-old veteran talk show host. According to the paper, “Charlie Rose made unwanted sexual advances toward them, including lewd phone calls, walking around naked in their presence or groping their breasts, buttocks or genital areas.”
Eight women came forward with similar stories of sexual harassment from Rose, with three willingly speaking on the record, the Post reported.
In a statement he released to the Post, Rose issued an apology for his actions and expressed his embarrassment.
“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.
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. I always felt that I was pursuing shared feelings, even though I now realize I was mistaken.
I have learned a great deal as a result of these events, and I hope others will too. All of us, including me, are coming to a newer and deeper recognition of the pain caused by conduct in the past, and have come to a profound new respect for women and their lives.
CBS News has since suspended Rose from the network amid an investigation into the allegations. PBS has also suspended distribution of his long running, self-titled interview show “Charlie Rose.”