The Washington Post reports that eight women have accused longtime PBS host Charlie Rose of inappropriate and sexually harassing behavior, including lewd phone calls, office nudity, and even groping.
The allegations sent a shock wave through left-leaning media; Rose has been a staple of PBS' political coverage for more than four decades, earning a pile of accolades and even Emmy and Peabody awards for his roundtable discussions with notable cultural and literary figures.
But the women, who range in age from 21 to 37, say Rose's private demeanor is much different from his intellectual public persona — and all eight tell remarkably similar stories of Rose's behind-the-scenes misbehavior.
According to the Post's interviews, the women claim Rose regularly touched them on their legs and thighs, and one woman says Rose actually groped her at a staff party. They also say that while traveling with Rose on business or while working at Rose's home, he would leave mid-meeting to shower, and then return without clothes.
Reah Bravo, a PBS intern who worked with Rose, says she was regularly the subject of his sexual advances, and Kyle Godfrey-Ryan, one of Rose's assistants, says Rose met her in the nude more than 20 times. Godfrey-Ryan also says Rose would call her late at night and relate creepy sexual fantasies.
"He also repeatedly called the then-21-year-old late at night or early in the morning to describe his fantasies of her swimming naked in the Bellport pool [at his upstate New York home] as he watched from his bedroom," the Post reports.
He also asked personal questions. “It would be wanting to know details of my sex life,” Godfrey-Ryan 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.”
When the women reported Rose's behavior, they say, they were told that was just "Charlie being Charlie." Around the office, the Post reports, the young women who ended up on Rose's production team were occasionally referred to as “Charlie’s Angels."
In addition to the three women who were willing to go on the record, and five women who spoke to the Post on background — preferring to remain anonymous, they said, because of Rose's reputed temper — the Post also found two dozen former Rose employees who say they experienced what they would describe as "harassing behavior," and eight who said that they were uncomfortable with how Rose treated his female employees.
Others, who never ended up working for the reputed journalist, accused the PBS host of everything from lewd requests to groping; one woman even said that she went to Rose's house for a job interview only to find him wearing nothing but an "untethered" robe. He tried to slide his hand down her pants, she said.
The allegations aren't necessarily novel. According to the Post, Charlie Rose has always had something of a bad reputation among his peers for being what Radar magazine once described as a "toxic bachelor." Rose himself denied the allegations, at least in part, saying that he's always considered himself an advocate for women, and that he "deeply apologizes" for his "inappropriate behavior."
“In my 45 years in journalism, I have prided myself on being an advocate for the careers of the women with whom I have worked,” Rose said in a statement provided to The Post. “Nevertheless, in the past few days, claims have been made about my behavior toward some former female colleagues."
“It is essential that these women know I hear them and that I deeply apologize for my inappropriate behavior. 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."
"I have learned a great deal as a result of these events, and I hope others will too. 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.”
The accusations against Rose are simply the latest in a wave of sexual harassment allegations that have rocked both the entertainment and media industries.