NEW YORK: Charlie Rose, one of America’s most respected broadcasters, an award-winning television host and interviewer, was suspended on Monday after eight women accused him of years of sexual harassment and unwanted advances.
A bombshell Washington Post report said the women were employees or aspired to work on the “Charlie Rose” show and were in their 20s and 30s when the alleged harassment took place from the 1990s to as recently as 2011.
They complained that the unwanted advances included lewd phone calls, groping and walking naked in front of them. Three of them spoke on the record.
The report makes Rose, now 75, the latest senior male journalist accused of misconduct in the wake of the downfall of Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, which opened the floodgates of sexual assault and harassment accusations in many industries.
Almost immediately, public broadcaster PBS moved to suspend distribution of the “Charlie Rose” show. CBS, where Rose co-hosts “CBS This Morning” and is a contributing correspondent for “60 Minutes,” followed suit.
“Charlie Rose is suspended immediately while we look into this matter. These allegations are extremely disturbing and we take them very seriously,” a CBS News statement read.
A spokesperson said PBS was shocked by the “deeply disturbing allegations.”
“Charlie Rose” is produced by an independent television production company.
“PBS does not fund this nightly program or supervise its production, but we expect our producers to provide a workplace where people feel safe and are treated with dignity and respect,” the spokesperson said.
Storied television and radio host Larry King, who previously led an eponymous show on CNN and now hosts one on Hulu and Russia’s RT America, said the scandal engulfing so many male stars is “terrible.”
“There’s no excuse for it. What was playful maybe years ago is no longer playful,” he told Agence France-Presse on the red carpet before presenting a prize at the International Emmy Awards ceremony in New York.
“It keeps coming to light. Something’s got to change.”
In a statement he tweeted out, Rose said “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,” the divorced host added.
“I always felt that I was pursuing shared feelings, even though I now realize I was mistaken.”
The Post said five of the women accused Rose of putting his hand on their legs.
Two said that while they worked for Rose, he emerged from the shower and walked naked in front of them. One said he groped her buttocks at a staff party.
Earlier, The New York Times confirmed that it had suspended a senior White House correspondent, Glenn Thrush, after news website Vox reported that he engaged in sexually inappropriate behavior on his previous job at Politico.