“CBS This Morning” on Tuesday was left with an empty chair, as hosts Norah O’Donnell and Gayle King addressed the suspension of their co-host and friend Charlie Rose.
The two talked in detail about the sexual misconduct allegations against Rose, a television news icon who has co-hosted the morning show since 2012.
“This is a moment that demands a frank and honest assessment,” O’Donnell said.
“Charlie does not get a pass here,” King said.
It is more than likely Rose will not return to the CBS broadcast or to his nightly talk show on public broadcasting after his public apology seemed to insinuate some of the accusations against him held merit.
The Washington Post published a 5,000-word story about the alleged harassment claims made against Rose, based on interviews with eight women who described “unwanted sexual advances.” Following the story, CBS suspended Rose.
King and O’Donnell sat at the morning show’s desk beside a glaringly empty chair previously occupied by Rose, and addressed the news “affecting all of us at this broadcast and this network.”
“This one does hit close to home,” the network’s newest correspondent, Bianna Golodryga, said in an interview with Amy Brittain, one of the Post reporters. “We’ve been able to reach out to one of those accusers. She didn’t want to go on camera, but confirms that the reporting is accurate.”
“It’s important we cover [this] the same way we cover the other ones,” Golodryga continued, referencing the past few weeks of news stories about Harvey Weinstein and other prominent men accused of sexual misconduct.
O’Donnell agreed, then read comments she had prepared earlier in the morning:
“This is a moment that demands a frank and honest assessment about where we stand and, more generally, the safety of women. Let me be very clear: There is no excuse for this alleged behavior. It is systematic and pervasive. 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. I’m really proud to work at CBS News. There are so many incredible people here, especially on this show … all of you here. This will be investigated. This has to end. This behavior is wrong. Period.”
“I certainly echo that,” King said in agreement. “Oprah called me and said, ‘Are you okay?’ I am not okay. After reading that article in the Post … it was deeply disturbing, troubling and painful for me to read.”
King then described her five-year friendship with Rose that began when they launched the morning show together in 2012.
“This is not the man I know,” King said. “I’ve held him in such high regard and I’m really struggling, because how do you — what do you say when someone that you deeply care about has done something that is so horrible? How do you wrap your brain around that? I’m really grappling with that.”
“That said,” King continued, “Charlie does not get a pass here. He doesn’t get a pass from anyone in this room. We are all deeply affected. We are all rocked by this.”
King and O’Donnell praised the women who came forward.
“I haven’t spoken to him,” King said, then asking O’Donnell, “Have you spoken to him?”
O’Donnell said she hadn’t yet, either.
“I intend to speak to him, certainly later today,” King said, “but I’m very sorry, and I’m very glad they have spoken up.”
CBS News has suspended @CBSThisMorning‘s Charlie Rose over allegations of sexual misconduct. The Washington Post published claims from 8 women, who all worked or wanted to work for his PBS program https://t.co/VAquqvo67x pic.twitter.com/NTm6ihSxT7
— CBS News (@CBSNews) November 21, 2017