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CBS News Political Director Fired Amid Claims of “Inappropriate Behavior”

Screengrab/CBS

by Katie Kilkenny Patrick Shanley — 

Longtime CBS employee Steve Chaggaris is out after allegations emerged in the past two weeks.

CBS News political director Steve Chaggaris has been fired after an investigation into allegations of “inappropriate behavior,” a network spokesperson confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday. CNN first reported the news of Chaggaris’ termination.

“In the last two weeks, accounts of inappropriate behavior by Steve Chaggaris were brought to our attention and were immediately investigated. As a result, CBS News has severed ties with Mr. Chaggaris for violating company policy, effective immediately,” the statement said.

CBS staffers were informed of Chaggaris’ exit on Wednesday evening, according to CNN’s report.

In November, CBS suspendedCBS This Morning co-anchor Charlie Rose after multiple CBS employees alleged inappropriate behavior on the longtime host’s part in a story in The Washington Post on Nov. 20. According to CNN’s report, the network has since urged employees to report inappropriate behavior and harassment to human resources. CBS News has also itself reported on the Rose accusations following The Washington Post‘s story.

Chaggaris, who covered the Trump campaign and occasionally appeared on-air, first joined the network in 1999 as an associate producer in the political unit. He left CBS News in 2010 and returned in 2012, when he became executive Washington editor for CBSNews.com.

 

Three CBS Employees Claim Charlie Rose Sexually Harassed Them

Theo Wargo/Getty Images Charlie Rose

Gayle King reported on the new allegations against her former co-anchor during Wednesday’s ‘CBS This Morning.’

When CBS This Morning reported on one of its own Tuesday, The Washington Post‘s Amy Brittain, who co-wrote the Rose exposé, said on-air that more than a dozen women had reached out with potential claims since the story ran. In the story, eight women had accused the veteran journalist of sexual harassment, including exposing himself and/or groping their rear ends, breasts and genitals without consent.

Now, three additional women have come forward, preferring to stay anonymous but who have been identified as employees at CBS, CBS News’ evening news first reported. Brittain, when speaking to CBS News’ Bianna Golodryga on Tuesday night, said her in-box was “flooded with dozens of emails” after the story published.

While two of the women said they weren’t ready to publicly detail their claims against Rose, a third woman alleges Rose whispered a sexual innuendo while touching her inappropriately at a work-related event.

“We reached out to Charlie and have not heard back,” CBS said in a statement about the report.

The report highlighted a TMZvideo where Rose, after the story ran, is asked if he had anything to say to the accusers of all these wrongdoings. He responded with a smile, “It’s not wrongdoings.”

In his statement, Rose had said he “prided” himself on being an advocate for the careers of women and said, “I deeply apologize myself for my inappropriate behavior.” He added, “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.”

On Tuesday, the CBS This Morning anchor was fired by CBS. Bloomberg and PBS, which distributed The Charlie Rose show, announced that they would cease to do so.

Co-anchors Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell had vowed to report on this story like any other when first reacting to the news Tuesday, and on Wednesday, Golodryga appeared on CBS This Morning to say they discovered the new alleged misconduct while reporting on the story and provided further details.

The three CBS employees allege Rose’s unwanted sexual advances continued after 2011, later than had been reported in the Post and during his time at CBS News.

Two of the women spoke of misconduct at work-related events, one woman claiming he groped her behind and the other, appearing to be the woman who was quoted by CBS evening news, said he grabbed her inappropriately while whispering a sexual innuendo in her ear.

CBS said in a statement Wednesday morning, “This is new information. Beyond that we have no comment at this time.”

Rose did not respond to CBS This Morning‘s request for comment.

“As tough as this is, it makes it even more important that we continue to follow the story and tell these women’s horrific details,” said Golodryga. Encouraging women to continue to speak up, King added, “I never in a million years thought that we, Charlie Rose and CBS would be involved in this story in this way that we are, but I also feel like we’re not shying away from reporting it, that’s important.”

 


Hollywood Reporter


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