The blockbuster sexual misconduct allegations against legendary television host Charlie Rose rocked the media world on Monday, but it put two other high-profile TV personalities in an especially difficult position: Rose’s CBS co-hosts.
Norah O’Donnell and Gayle King anchor CBS This Morning alongside Rose, whom the network suspended on Monday, so the two women had to address his absence—and the alarming accusations against him—during their show open on Tuesday.
The allegations against Rose, first reported by The Washington Post, claim the 75-year-old has made unwanted sexual advances toward at least eight women he’s worked with; calling them on the phone with lewd messages, appearing naked in their presence, groping their breasts, buttocks, or genital areas.
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“I deeply apologize for my inappropriate behavior. I am greatly embarrassed,” Rose said in a statement on Monday. “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.”
Rose’s co-hosts, meanwhile, did not apologize for him.
“Charlie does not get a pass here,” King said on air Tuesday morning, adding that she is “still reeling” from the news.
King, a good friend of media mogul Oprah Winfrey, said Winfrey had called her after the story broke to ask if King was okay.
“I am not okay. After reading that article in the Post, it was deeply disturbing, troubling and painful for me to read,” she told viewers. “To the women who have not spoken up, or who are afraid, I’m hoping that now they will take the steps to speak out too, that this will become a moment of truth.”
O’Donnell was equally direct in addressing the allegations.
“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. This, I know, is true: Women cannot achieve equality in the workplace or in society until there is a reckoning and a taking of responsibility,” she said, adding that she’s “really proud” to work at CBS. (None of the eight women who made allegations against Rose in the Post story worked at CBS.) “This will be investigated,” O’Donnell said on Tuesday. “This has to end, this behavior is wrong.”
PBS and Bloomberg, which distribute Rose’s long-running interview show Charlie Rose, also suspended him Monday.