Attorneys for Charlie Rose say his accusers are trying to spin “routine interactions” into a claim for sexual harassment, and are looking to have their lawsuit thrown out.
Rose was sued in May by three employees who allege that he made sexual comments and touched them inappropriately, and who say that they faced retaliation for speaking out. In a motion to dismiss filed in New York Supreme Court on Friday, Rose’s attorneys contend that the accusers are exaggerating “threadbare” allegations in an effort to exploit the #MeToo movement.
“The Complaint attempts to seize upon routine workplace interactions and banter and spin them into actionable conduct by omitting the context and tone and using suggestive language,” the motion states.
The plaintiffs — Katherine Brooks Harris, Sydney McNeal, and Chelsea Wei — allege that Rose made repeated unwanted sexual advances. The women alleged that Rose would brag of his sexual exploits, asked about their sex lives, invited them to dinner and to his house, touched them on the back and legs, and kissed them on the cheek.
Harris and McNeal allege they were fired after the Washington Post published a report accusing Rose of harassment in November. Rose’s attorneys counter that the women cannot claim they were retaliated against because everyone who worked on Rose’s PBS show was let go once it was canceled. Rose was also fired by CBS, where he co-hosted “CBS This Morning.” Wei alleges she was demoted by CBS.
Rose’s attorneys argue that the complaint should be dismissed because it fails to state an actionable claim of gender discrimination. In a footnote, the attorneys also allude to “evidence in the form of Plaintiffs’ own words in emails and actions [that] will fatally contradict the allegations in their Complaint,” should the complaint survive the motion to dismiss.