Charlie Rose, ex-CBS anchor, admits to workplace relationships, flirting

In a deposition released Monday, Rose said he now knows that his workplace relationships were "inappropriate."
TV News anchor Charlie Rose
TV News anchor Charlie Rose walks through the Trump Tower on Nov. 21, 2016 in New York.Carolyn Kaster / AP file

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
SUBSCRIBE
By Claire Atkinson

Charlie Rose, the former "CBS This Morning” anchor, admitted he flirted with his female co-anchors and had workplace relationships, according to court documents filed Monday.

Rose acknowledged during a Nov. 14 deposition that he flirted with his former CBS co-hosts Gayle King, Norah O’Donnell and Bianna Golodryga, and that he was aware King sometimes referred to him as “Charlie f-----' Rose.”

“No one seemed to object,” he told a lawyer representing three women who are involved in an ongoing lawsuit against the once high-profile journalist.

Rose was fired from his jobs with CBS and PBS, where he hosted the interview show "Charlie Rose", following the publication of a Washington Post story in November 2017 in which eight women came forward to accuse him of sexual harassment and unwanted advances. The Post reported in May 2018 that Rose had been accused of harassment by an additional 27 women who worked with him over three decades.

Rose admitted in the deposition, filed in the Supreme Court of the state of New York in Manhattan as part of the suit brought against him by the three former CBS News employees, that he has had romantic relationships with women he worked with over the span of his 45-year career, and told lawyers that he now realizes why they those relationships were "inappropriate."

Let our news meet your inbox. The news and stories that matters, delivered weekday mornings.

“I’m saying inappropriate because the fact that I had relationships with people in the workplace over those 45 years and you know, we have now come to understand and appreciate and had by then that romantic relationships or intimacies were not appropriate in the workplace,” he said, adding, “you know, because there was power and balance,” according to the deposition. Rose declined to go into detail about the specifics of those relationships, including names.

Rose defended himself against allegations of harassment during the deposition by suggesting that he frequently gave hugs and kisses on the cheek while greeting people with whom he was friendly. He was asked, “Are there any males you kissed?” and responded, “I’m sure there are,” but was unable to name anyone, according to the deposition.

He was questioned in the deposition by Kenneth Goldberg, of the law firm Goldberg & Fliegel, who is representing the three women in the lawsuit. Goldberg asked Rose to identify whom he was referring to when he apologized for inappropriate behavior and insensitivity in a tweet he posted ahead of the publication of the Post's story, according to court documents.

Katherine Brooks Harris, Syndey McNeal and Yuqing “Chelsea” Wei, who all worked for CBS News, filed the suit, alleging in depositions that Rose harassed them in various ways while they worked with him as junior employees, according to court documents.

Goldberg & Fliegel and the three plaintiffs did not return requests for further comment on the depositions.

The lawsuit alleges that Rose “repeatedly asked Ms. Harris and McNeal about their sex lives and directed them to share details with him,” along with requests that they join him at his home in Bellport, New York. According to the lawsuit, Rose told them, "I better not hear any stories about two young women swimming naked together.” Harris also alleges in the lawsuit that Rose put his hand on her seat just before she sat down in order to touch her buttocks.

CBS News settled with the three women in December 2018, the amount of the settlement was kept confidential at the plaintiff’s request, CBS News said at the time. The lawsuit against Rose is ongoing.

Wei, a former news associate with "CBS This Morning,” alleges in the filing that nothing was done after she complained to her boss about Rose’s constant touching and inappropriate behavior.

CBS News didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. Rose and his lawyer did not respond to multiple requests for comment. Rose has previously denied the allegations.

CBS News has said that it has been making changes to ensure a safe work environment for its employees.

“Since we terminated Charlie Rose, we’ve worked to strengthen existing systems to ensure a safe environment where everyone can do their best work," the company said in a statement in May 2018.