Broadcast giant Charlie Rose was suspended from CBS, PBS and Bloomberg on Monday afternoon after eight women came forward with disturbing allegations that he exposed himself to them and groped their breasts, buttocks and genitals.
In extensive interviews with the Washington Post, the women recounted how Rose made unwanted sexual advances while they worked or hoped to work on his namesake PBS show, dating back to the late 1990s and spanning until as recently as 2011.
Ranging in age from 21 to 37, a number of the accusers spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation from the veteran TV host. The women’s allegations share striking similarities, describing how Rose switched between anger and flattery as he made the predatory advances.
Rose, who also co-hosts “CBS This Morning” and contributes to “60 Minutes,” apologized for his “inappropriate behavior” but insisted he was under the impression that the incidents were consensual.
“It is essential that these women know I hear them and that I deeply apologize,” Rose said in a statement. “I am greatly embarrassed. I have behaved insensitively at times, and I accept responsibility for that, though I do not believe that all of these allegations are accurate. I always felt that I was pursuing shared feelings, even though I now realize I was mistaken.”
The 75-year-old TV profile referenced the recent wave of sexual harassment allegations against powerful men in politics, media and showbiz, pleading that he has “learned a great deal as a result of these events.”
“All of us, including me, are coming to a newer and deeper recognition of the pain caused by conduct in the past, and have come to a profound new respect for women and their lives,” he said.
Just hours after The Post story went online, PBS suspended Rose, calling the allegations against him “deeply disturbing.”
CBS followed suit shortly after, suspending Rose indefinitely.
“These allegations are extremely disturbing and we take them very seriously,” a CBS spokeswoman told the Daily News.
Among Rose’s accusers is Kyle Godfrey-Ryan, who was in her early 20s when she began working as an assistant to Rose in the mid-2000s.
Godfrey-Ryan recalled how Rose would humiliate her in front of other employees, calling her stupid and pathetic.
But after the rage Rose would flip.
“It would usually entail some version of him also touching me,” she said. “A hand on the upper thigh. He’d give a hug but touch the side of the breast.”
Charlie Rose allegedly groped and sexually harassed a number of women.
(Dennis Van Tine/STAR MAX/IPx/Star Max/IPx)
Godfrey-Ryan said she tried to not think about the incidents but eventually Rose began pestering her with late-night phone calls.
“It would be wanting to know details of my sex life,” she said. “’Who’s next to you? What do you do? Is he touching you?’ And I was like, ‘Okay, Charlie, I’ll see you tomorrow.’ I just acted like it wasn’t happening.”
Godfrey-Ryan also recalled how Rose would walk in front of her completely naked while she was working at one of his New York City residences.
“He was getting more and more frustrated that I wouldn’t engage,” she said.
After a number of such incidents, Godfrey-Ryan told a friend. The friend confronted Rose and shortly thereafter, Godfrey-Ryan was fired.
“(Rose) took me out to lunch and told me how embarrassed he was, how he didn’t treat me like that,” she said. “It was really about how I got it wrong, and, obviously, I couldn’t work there anymore.”
Reah Bravo, who started interning on the “Charlie Rose” show in 2007, described how Rose made similar advances while she worked at his private waterfront estate in Bellport, Long Island. She also recounted Rose harassing her while they were traveling together and, once, inside a hotel suite.
“It has taken 10 years and a fierce moment of cultural reckoning for me to understand these moments for what they were,” she said. “He was a sexual predator, and I was his victim.”
Bravo would stay at the Bellport house for days at a time and she remembered feeling uncomfortable when Rose would unexpectedly hug her from behind.
Because of the well-needed extra income, Bravo stayed on and was given more responsibilities, including helping Rose prepare interviews and speeches.
It all came to a boiling point when Bravo traveled with Rose to Indiana for a speaking event in March 2008.
At one point on the trip, Rose called Bravo to his hotel room to work on a speech. While she was sitting at a desk, Rose came out of the shower completely naked and strode around the room. Bravo said she became visibly uncomfortable but ignored him and kept working.
Later, the two got on a small private jet and Rose flicked on a documentary on a portable DVD player. Rose then got out of his seat and pressed himself against Bravo.
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“I felt at a loss. I mean, what am I going to do? We were how many feet up in the air?” she said.
Bravo described the advance as “animalistic” and said she quit shortly thereafter after she was offered another job.
The other six accusers made eerily similiar allegations of how Rose forced himself on them in cars or at one of his residences.
One of them said an associate introduced her to Rose after she expressed hope about breaking into broadcast journalism.
After a number of casual meetings over food and drinks, Rose invited the woman to his Bellport home to discuss a potential position. Eager to get a job on his PBS show, the woman agreed and they traveled to his house on June 18, 2010.
They stopped for dinner on the way and didn’t get out to the house until past midnight. Once they finally arrived, Rose gave her a tour of the sprawling estate.
At one point, Rose said he would be right back because he needed to change. He came back wearing only a white bathrobe, with nothing underneath.
“I thought, I’m doomed,” the woman said. “I was completely panicked. In retrospect, I thought of a million things I could have done.”
She recalled how Rose, who seemed intoxicated, then tried to force his hand down her pants.
“By the time he touched me the first time, he was already very angry,” she said. “I was scared, and I was also kind of frozen.”
She rebuffed the attempt but Rose tried again, at which point the woman started crying.
“Baby, oh baby, why are you crying,” the woman remember Rose saying in response.
The woman never got the job and tried to forget the incident as much as she could.
“Remaining silent allowed me to continue denying what had occurred,” she said.