Michael Thielen / Flickr Charlie Rose could reportedly host a...
Michael Thielen / Flickr

CBS is going to have some explaining to do as to why they looked the other way on news personality Charlie Rose’s alleged acts of sexual harassment for a full three decades.

Incidents of sexual misconduct by Charlie Rose were far more numerous than previously known, according to a new investigation by The Washington Post, which also found three occasions over a period of 30 years in which CBS managers were warned of his conduct toward women at the network.

An additional 27 women — 14 CBS News employees and 13 who worked with him elsewhere — said Rose sexually harassed them. Concerns about Rose’s behavior were flagged to managers at the network as early as 1986 and as recently as April 2017, when Rose was co-anchor of “CBS This Morning,” according to multiple people with firsthand knowledge of the conversations.

The Washington Post interviewed more than 100 current and past CBS employees. It also doesn’t sound like any of this was a secret—or rare.

“I had been there long enough to know that it was just the way things went,” said Sophie Gayter, now 27, who worked at “60 Minutes” in 2013 when, she said, Rose groped her buttocks as they walked down an office hallway to a recording studio. “People said what they wanted to you, people did what they wanted to you.”

CBS News claims to be working to “strengthen” their protections against such harassment, but that’s not going to fly. The Post’s sources describe an environment in which such behavior was, in Gayter’s words, “the way things went”: That means there are others at the network who behaved similarly to Rose. And there were certainly many others who knew of the behavior. There is no possible way network executives can claim they did not know:

When Susan MacArthur was interviewing in the late 1990s for a job to be Rose’s assistant, she said, a CBS News executive told her to “steer clear” because of the host’s history of “questionable behavior.”

The Post story describes decades of such behavior. That provides strong evidence that Rose’s behavior wasn’t just ignored by management, but protected. Ye gods, the lawsuit that’s about to come down on them will be the size of a New York skyscraper.

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