Gayle King on New Charlie Rose Allegations: ‘I Feel Sick to My Stomach’

CBS This Morning” co-anchor Gayle King spoke out on Thursday’s edition of the show about the latest allegations aimed at Charlie Rose and CBS News management, marking another entry into the growing list of awkward on-air moments stemming from sexual harassment charges leveled at prominent news personalities.

CBS This Morning” covered the report in Thursday’s Washington Post that some 27 additional women have come forward with allegations about sexually charged and inappropriate conduct by Rose. The Post report detailed claims that CBS News management had been made aware of at least three complaints about Rose over a 30-year period. The report cited an executive close to home for “CBS This Morning,” executive producer Ryan Kadro.

King looked distressed as she addressed the Post report while sitting at the anchor table with substitute “CBS This Morning” anchors Bianna Golodryga and Anthony Mason. She noted that it wasn’t the first time she had to confront on-air troubling allegations about a person that she still considers a friend. Rose was hastily fired by CBS News and PBS in November when a previous Washington Post report detailed assertions from eight women about sexual advances and other misconduct by Rose, most of which occurred in connection with the production of his nightly PBS program “Charlie Rose.”

“I have a very bad case of deja vu, I have to say. I feel sick to my stomach,” King said. “When the story first broke I said Charlie was my friend and I still consider him my friend. I don’t’ believe in abandoning friends when they’re down. That said, this is very troubling, very disturbing. But you can’t discount what these woman are saying.”

In recent months, numerous major TV news organizations have been forced to report on allegations involving current and former staffers. The #MeToo movement and heightened scrutiny of sexual misconduct in the wake of the reporting on disgraced film mogul Harvey Weinstein has led to abrupt changes on NBC’s “Today,” where longtime anchor Matt Lauer was dismissed in November, and on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” where contributor Mark Halperin was suspended and ultimately fired in October. Fox News cut ties with its star host Bill O’Reilly a year ago amid revelations about the high volume of sexual harassment settlements over his long career. More recently, NBC News has been forced to report on allegations of unwanted sexual advances made in the mid-1990s by NBC News stalwart Tom Brokaw.

King noted the extra layer of discomfort this time around as the Post report alleges that CBS News leaders were aware of at least some incidents involving Rose. “I have great respect for them,” King said of Kadro and others cited in the report, including former “CBS This Morning” exec producer Chris Licht, who is now exec producer of “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.” Kadro has denied the Post’s assertion that he encouraged a young CBS News staffer to work as a personal assistant to Rose.

King expressed frustration at the renewed scrutiny on the Rose allegations given the hard work that the new team — John Dickerson replaced Rose earlier this year at “CBS This Morning” alongside King and Norah O’Donnell — is doing to deliver a “quality broadcast” each day.

“I don’t know what more we can do to Charlie Rose except a public flogging. He’s gone. He’s not coming back to CBS News,” she said. “I’m sick of handling it. I want us to move forward. (But) you can’t ignore what these women are saying. That’s also part of my anguish here.”

Despite her desire to move on, King vowed that “CBS This Morning” would continue to report on the Rose story as warranted. “We’re not running away from it,” she said.

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