As celebrated television talk show host and “CBS Morning News” anchor Charlie Rose defended himself against allegations of sexual harassment, his morning show co-anchors, Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell, were left to dissect the fallout with viewers.
O’Donnell was all business, stoic as she issued a strong statement (beginning at 0:14 in the video above) about the swelling tide of allegations against powerful men in the workplace. “This is a moment that demands a frank and honest assessment about where we stand and, more generally, the safety of women,” she said. “Let me be very clear, there is no excuse for this alleged behavior. It is systematic and pervasive. … [W]omen cannot achieve equality in the workplace or in society until there is a reckoning and a taking of responsibility.”
King (starting at 1:04) took a more personal approach, describing her sleepless night and conflicted feelings in the wake of the Washington Post story that detailed the accounts of eight women who say they were harassed by Rose, and Rose’s immediate suspension by CBS.
Saying she was “still reeling” from the news, King noted, “I’ve enjoyed a friendship and a partnership with Charlie for the past five years. I’ve held him in such high regard. And I’m really struggling because how do you—what do you say when someone you deeply care about has done something that is so horrible? … I’m really grappling with that. That said, Charlie does not get a pass here.”
Both women confirmed that they had yet to speak with Rose since the allegations were published.
Their statements reflect how some women around the world are reacting to news about high-profile men being accused of harassment.
But although both responses were powerful, King’s was particularly representative of how a lot of women might feel right now about Charlie Rose, even if we didn’t work with him. We, too, once held him in high regard. And his show’s intimate format, not to mention his charm and candor, made him feel like a friend.