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Charlie Rose Wins Dismissal of Retaliation Claim in Harassment Suit

A New York judge on Thursday dismissed a claim that Charlie Rose retaliated against three female employees who complained of sexual harassment.

Judge Doris Ling-Cohan found that while Rose had allegedly disparaged the women — calling one a “f—ing idiot” and another a “f—ing kindergartner” — his comments did not amount to retaliation under the New York City Human Rights Law.

While she dismissed that count, Ling-Cohan allowed the three plaintiffs to pursue their other claim, of discrimination and retaliation, against the former “CBS This Morning” co-host. The case will proceed to discovery.

The women — Katherine Brooks Harris, Sydney McNeal, and Chelsea Wei — filed suit in May 2018, alleging that Rose had routinely made sexually suggestive comments and touched them inappropriately. Harris alleged that Rose compelled her to sit next to him, and then slid his hand under her buttocks. McNeal and Wei said that he would put his hand on their waists and pull them towards him, and that he would often touch and squeeze them inappropriately.

Harris and McNeal were let go — along with the rest of the staff — when Rose’s PBS show was canceled in November 2017, following a Washington Post report about Rose’s alleged harassment. Wei, a CBS employee, was reassigned when Rose was fired, and later left the network on a medical leave.

Rose’s attorneys argued that the plaintiffs could not claim to have been retaliated against for engaging in protected activity.

In her ruling, Ling-Cohan agreed.

“Inasmuch as CBS fired Rose the day after that article was published, McNeal and Harris cannot show that they were fired for any reason, other than that there was no longer any work for them,” the judge wrote. “Moreover, plaintiffs cited no case law in which yelling or cursing of the nature alleged here, constitutes retaliation.”

CBS settled with the plaintiffs last year.

A makeup artist filed a second suit against Rose last month, alleging that he treated his studio like a “sexual hunting ground,” and that she was subjected to verbal abuse and mistreatment.

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