Veteran journalist Charlie Rose has apologized after eight women accused him of sexually harassing them, from walking around naked in front of them to groping their breasts and genitals.
The women were employed, or hoping to be, at PBS's "Charlie Rose" show from the late '90s to 2011, the Washington Post reported. Rose, 75, hosts CBS's "This Morning" and contributes to "60 Minutes;" he rose to fame in the '80s as the host of "CBS News Nightwatch." The "Post" reported that the women's allegations had similar trends — that Rose would put his hand on their legs to gauge their reactions, walk out of the shower naked in front of them on a business trip or at his house, or grope them.
Rose did not deny the allegations. “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 to the Post. “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. 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."
Rose often gave unsolicited shoulder rubs known as "crusty paw," a former employee said. A former intern said Rose groped her breasts and stomach during a car ride. One of Rose's assistants in the mid-2000s said there were at least a dozen instances when Rose walked around naked in front of her. She told the "Post" that when she confided in a mutual friend about it, Rose fired her.
The Post interviewed nearly two dozen additional former employees of Rose. Six said they saw harassment, eight said they saw behavior by Rose that made them feel uncomfortable, and 10 said they never saw or heard anything concerning.
Others described ritualistic behavior such as "the shower trick," in which Rose would summon young female employees to his home to work at night, then got into the shower and called for them to join him.
PBS, CBS and Bloomberg, which also employs Rose, said there was no record of sexual harassment complaints against him.
Rose was married once but divorced in 1980, and he has a longtime reputation as something of a player. Norah O'Donnell, his “CBS This Morning” co-host, once introduced him at a 2014 fundraiser by joking, “We’re all here because with Charlie Rose, one woman is never enough.”