Press Forward Says CBS Harassment Story Signals Systemic Industry Problem

Press Forward, a group working to end sexual harassment and assault in the nation's newsrooms, said a new Washington Post story about CBS News and accused harasser Charlie Rose signals the problem is systemic and must change.

The Post reported that Rose's sexual misconduct was "widespread" and had been brought to the attention of news execs there. It cited 27 more women who said they were harassed by Rose, 14 at CBS and 13 elsewhere.

Rose told the paper the story was "unfair and inaccurate."

“Since we terminated Charlie Rose, we’ve worked to strengthen existing systems to ensure a safe environment where everyone can do their best work,” CBS told the paper in a statement. “Some of the actions we have taken have been reported publicly, some have not. We offer employees discretion and fairness, and we take swift action when we learn of unacceptable behavior."

CBS did not confirm any of the story's assertions, but said, "We continue to look for ways to improve our workplace and this period of reflection and action has been important to all of us. We are not done with this process.”

Press Forward said that Rose's rise should not have come at the expense of the dignity of his colleagues.

"There needs to be a systematic change in newsroom culture," the group said. "Companies need to create a culture that encourages their employees to speak out about offensive behavior in the workplace, including encouraging other employees to report this behavior when they see it." 

Kyle Godfrey Ryan, co-founder of the group, was encouraged by the "cultural shift of awareness and activism around the #MeToo movement."

CBS cut ties with Rose in November.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.