“60 Minutes” executive producer Jeff Fager will extend his vacation while a legal probe into the culture at CBS News moves toward completion, CBS News said in a statement Sunday.
“Having heard the investigation will be wrapping up soon, Jeff has decided to stay on vacation,” the CBS Corp. news division said. Fager has, like many other staffers at the venerable CBS newsmagazine, been out of the office, as “60 Minutes” typically airs repeats and updated stories during summer months. He had been expected to return to work this Monday as producers begin in earnest to get stories ready for the fall season.
Fager has been cited in allegations made about CBS News in an article recently published in The New Yorker that suggest he turned a deaf ear to instances of harassment even as three financial settlements paid to employees of the newsmagazine were related to allegations of discrimination or harassment. CBS News has been under scrutiny since the ouster of former “CBS This Morning” co-anchor Charlie Rose, who left last year in the wake of allegations about harassment that were published in The Washington Post. The New Yorker article also contained allegations about the behavior of CBS CEO Leslie Moonves, and the CBS board of directors has tapped two attorneys to examine those claims as well as the quality of employee culture at the company itself.
Fager has denied the allegations. “It is wrong that our culture can be falsely defined by a few people with an axe to grind who are using an important movement as a weapon to get even, and not by the hundreds of women and men that have thrived, both personally and professionally, at ‘60 Minutes,’”he said in a statement to The New Yorker. Moonves has acknowledged “making advances” against some women. “Those were mistakes, and I regret them immensely,”he said in a statement to the magazine.
A separate investigation at CBS News, started in March, is nearing toward completion. David Rhodes, president of CBS News, told employees of the unit Thursday that a probe being conducted by attorneys at Proskauer Rose is expected to be finished by the end of August.
“The independent nature of this probe means News management does not get incremental updates on its findings — although one factor in its duration is that since March, we have added new areas of inquiry for the lawyers,” Rhodes said to staffers.
Bill Owens, who has been executive editor of “60 Minutes” since June, 2008, has long been second-in-command at the program.
CNN previously reported Fager would not return to work Monday as expected.