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Eight women say Charlie Rose sexually harassed them — with nudity, groping and lewd calls

Eight women have told The Washington Post that longtime television host Charlie Rose made unwanted sexual advances toward them, including lewd phone calls, walking around naked in their presence, or groping their breasts, buttocks or genital areas.

The women were employees or aspired to work for Rose at the “Charlie Rose” show from the late 1990s to as recently as 2011. They ranged in age from 21 to 37 at the time of the alleged encounters. Rose, 75, whose show airs on PBS and Bloomberg TV, also co-hosts “CBS This Morning” and is a contributing correspondent for “60 Minutes.”

There are striking commonalities in the accounts of the women, each of whom described their interactions with Rose in multiple interviews with The Post. For all of the women, reporters interviewed friends, colleagues or family members who said the women had confided in them about aspects of the incidents. Three of the eight spoke on the record.

Five of the women spoke on the condition of anonymity out of fear of Rose’s stature in the industry, his power over their careers or what they described as his volatile temper.

“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.”

Within hours of the publication of this story, PBS and Bloomberg LP immediately suspended distribution of the “Charlie Rose” show. CBS announced that it was suspending Rose as it looked into the matter.

Most of the women said Rose alternated between fury and flattery in his interactions with them. Five described Rose putting his hand on their legs, sometimes their upper thigh, in what they perceived as a test to gauge their reactions. Two said that while they were working for Rose at his residences or were traveling with him on business, he emerged from the shower and walked naked in front of them. One said he groped her buttocks at a staff party.

Reah Bravo was an intern and then associate producer for Rose’s PBS show beginning in 2007. In interviews, she described unwanted sexual advances while working for Rose at his private waterfront estate in Bellport, N.Y., and while traveling with him in cars, in a hotel suite and on a private plane.

“It has taken 10 years and a fierce moment of cultural reckoning for me to understand these moments for what they were,” she told The Post. “He was a sexual predator, and I was his victim.”

Kyle Godfrey-Ryan, one of Rose’s assistants in the mid-2000s, recalled at least a dozen instances where Rose walked nude in front of her while she worked in one of his New York City homes. 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 as he watched from his bedroom, she said.

“It feels branded into me, the details of it,” Godfrey-Ryan said.

She said she told Yvette Vega, Rose’s longtime executive producer, about the calls.

“I explained how he inappropriately spoke to me during those times,” Godfrey-Ryan said. “She would just shrug and just say, ‘That’s just Charlie being Charlie.’ ”

In a statement to The Post, Vega said she should have done more to protect the young women on the show.

“I should have stood up for them,” said Vega, 52, who has worked with Rose since the show was created in 1991. “I failed. It is crushing. I deeply regret not helping them.”

Godfrey-Ryan said that when Rose learned she had confided to a mutual friend about his conduct, he fired her.

Megan Creydt worked as a coordinator on the show from 2005 to 2006, overlapping with Godfrey-Ryan.

“It was quite early in working there that he put his hand on my mid-thigh,” said Creydt, who agreed to be interviewed on the record to support other women who were coming forward with what she deemed to be more serious claims concerning Rose.

She said that during the incident, Rose was driving his Mini Cooper in Manhattan while she was sitting in the passenger seat.

“I don’t think I said anything,” she said. “I tensed up. I didn’t move his hand off, but I pulled my legs to the other side of the car. I tried not to get in a car with him ever again. I think he was testing me out.”

Her then-boyfriend confirmed to The Post that she told him the story at the time.

In addition to the eight women who say they were harassed, The Post spoke to about two dozen former employees who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Six said they saw what they considered to be harassment, eight said they were uncomfortable with Rose’s treatment of female employees, and 10 said they did not see or hear anything concerning.

“He was always professional with me,” said Eleonore Marchand Mueller, a former assistant of Rose’s who worked for him from 2003 to 2005. “I never witnessed any unprofessional incidents.”

The show’s small, informal structure, with roughly 15 employees, and the centrality of Rose’s authority on a program he owns led to uncertainty over how to respond, said the women who felt victimized. “There wasn’t anybody to report this to if you felt uncomfortable,” one of them said.

The employees worked for Charlie Rose Inc., and not Bloomberg LP or PBS, which said they did not provide human resources support for the show.

The environment brimmed with the young and potentially vulnerable, hungry for scarce television jobs. “There are so few jobs,” said one of the women who said Rose groped her. “You know if you don’t behave a certain way, there’s someone else behind you.”

Rose traveled frequently, jetting off to interview world leaders across the globe and splitting time between two New York City residences and homes in Bellport — on Long Island — and North Carolina. Often at his side was a rotating cast of young assistants and producers.

The young women who were hired by the show were sometimes known as “Charlie’s Angels,” two former employees said. Rose frequently gave unsolicited shoulder rubs to several of them, behavior referred to among employees as “the crusty paw,” a former employee said.

Rumors about Rose’s behavior have circulated for years. One of the authors of this report, Outlook contributing writer Irin Carmon, first heard and attempted to report on the allegations involving two of the women while she was a journalist at Jezebel in 2010 but was unable to confirm them. In the past several weeks in the wake of accusations against Harvey Weinstein, Carmon and Post investigative reporter Amy Brittain jointly began contacting dozens of men and women who had worked on the “Charlie Rose” show or interviewed for jobs there.

A woman then in her 30s who was at the Bellport home in 2010 to discuss a job opportunity said Rose appeared before her in an untethered bathrobe, naked underneath. She said he subsequently attempted to put his hands down her pants. She said she pushed his hands away and wept throughout the encounter.

A woman who began as an intern in the late 1990s and was later hired full time described a “ritual” of young women at the show being summoned by Rose to his Manhattan apartment to work at a desk there. The woman described a day when Rose went into the bathroom, left the door open and turned on the shower.

She said he began to call her name, insistently. She ignored him, she said, and continued working. Suddenly, he came out of the bathroom and stood over her. She turned her head, briefly saw skin and Rose with a towel and jerked back around to avoid the sight. She said he said, “Didn’t you hear me calling you?”

She said she told someone in the office, and word got around. A few days later, she said, a male colleague approached her, laughing, “Oh, you got the shower trick.” The woman’s sister confirmed that her sibling had told her about the shower incident soon after it occurred.

Another woman said that during her internship in the early 2000s, Rose groped her breasts and stomach as she drove him from Bellport back to Manhattan. Her then-boyfriend, now husband, confirmed that she described the incident to him immediately after it occurred. When Rose invited her to work regularly and stay overnight at Bellport, her boyfriend told her to refuse the offer, and she did, both told The Post.

Prestige and fear
Rose’s eponymous show, with its trademark black background and round oak table, has been in production since 1991. What it lacks in mass viewership, the “Charlie Rose” show makes up for in prestige and high-profile bookings of the likes of former president Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey and Warren Buffett. Rose’s show is produced by Charlie Rose Inc., an independent television production company, and distributed by PBS. It is filmed at Bloomberg headquarters in Manhattan.

Rose’s stature has only grown in recent years.

CBS tapped him in 2011 to help revamp its ailing morning show, now called “CBS This Morning,” expanding his audience. He has also been a contributing correspondent for “60 Minutes” for nearly a decade. His 2013 interview of Syria’s president won Emmy and Peabody awards. (None of the women who made accusations against Rose to The Post worked for PBS or CBS.)

Representatives from PBS, CBS and Bloomberg said they have no records of sexual harassment complaints about Charlie Rose.

When Time magazine named Rose one of its 100 most influential people in 2014, billionaire and former New York City mayor Michael R. Bloomberg described him as “one of the most important and influential people in journalism.”

Rose, who was divorced in 1980, has long had a reputation as a ladies man. His “CBS This Morning” co-host, Norah O’Donnell, introduced him at a 2014 fundraiser dinner by joking, “We’re all here because with Charlie Rose, one woman is never enough.” Rose graciously accepted honors that night by saying that he was lucky to have worked throughout his career with “women who were smarter, more thoughtful and more eloquent than I was.”

There was also less flattering coverage. The now-defunct Radar magazine in 2007 called him a “toxic bachelor” and repeated an unnamed woman’s claim that Rose had “palmed her buttock like a honeydew.” His then-attorney, David Boies, who has recently drawn criticism for his representation of Harvey Weinstein, demanded a retraction. The magazine refused.

The “Charlie Rose” show prides itself on its highbrow intellectual ambition, but his life is glamorous, full of black-tie galas and famous friends. He can be charming and generous, consulting favored employees for their opinions on what to ask heads of state or whisking them off to exotic locations for interviews. But his wrath was swift and often fiercely personal, according to interviews with multiple former employees.

“Everybody is terrified of him,” said one of the women who said that Rose groped her when she was an intern. “He creates this environment of constant fear. And then he’ll shine a spotlight on you and make you feel amazing.”

Multiple women said they had at first been reassured by the presence of Vega, Rose’s executive producer, who has worked with him for decades. Two women who spoke to The Post said they repeatedly reported Rose’s inappropriate sexual behavior to Vega.


‘His poor judgment’

Working for the “Charlie Rose” show was a longtime dream for Reah Bravo, who in 2007 was a 29-year-old graduate student studying international affairs at Columbia University. She struggled to make ends meet during her unpaid internship, accruing credit card debt and eating free cereal in the Bloomberg food court.

One day, several months into the internship, Rose offered her a side gig at his home in Bellport on Long Island.

“Here is the deal: I’ll pay you $2,500 for the week plus all expenses for food, movies etc.,” he wrote to her on Aug. 9, 2007. “You will be there from Monday August 13-Friday afternoon, August 17. Your primary responsibilities are to organize and catalogue all my books and tapes and files ... It will help me a lot, be fun for you, and you will have a car all the time for whatever you need to do.”

Before she left for Bellport, Bravo said Vega told her that personal time with Rose was a key to becoming part of the team.



Bravo said she took the train to Bellport, where she said Rose met her at the Ronkonkoma station and took her to a bank to withdraw money to cover her expenses. She stayed at the Bellport home for about a week, sleeping in a bedroom in the main house. Rose was gone much of the time.

While she was there, Bravo said she received a message from a male producer. If Rose did anything “sketchy,” she said he told her, she should not hesitate to call the show’s car service to return home.

Late one night, Bravo said, Rose returned home after a night out. She said she tried to hurry out of the library in the guesthouse to return to her bedroom in the main house before Rose came in, but he intercepted her. She said he insisted that they have a glass of wine at the dining room table in the main house.

Then, he suggested they walk out to his dock and look at the moon, Bravo said. Once there, “he came up from behind me and he put his arms around me,” she said, remembering that she felt a mix of apprehension and confusion. “It reflected his poor judgment. How could a man of his stature and his power be doing something so inappropriate? . . . It seemed reckless.”

Caught off guard, she said she did not know how to respond and endured his embrace.

A day or two later, Bravo said, Rose drove her back to Manhattan. She said he began to tell her that he felt very alone in life, despite his wealth and success. He recalled a brush with death a year earlier during heart surgery in Paris and began to tear up, and she said she patted him on the shoulder to console him.

“I didn’t necessarily buy it,” she said. “I thought, ‘I’ll keep my distance and I feel sorry for him.’ But I didn’t think of him as a predator at that time.”

Bravo soon returned to Bellport for a second trip. She was working in the guesthouse and caught a glimpse of Rose rinsing off nude in an unenclosed outdoor shower. She said she quickly averted her eyes and moved away from the window.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/eight-women-say-charlie-rose-sexually-harassed-them--with-nudity-groping-and-lewd-calls/2017/11/20/9b168de8-caec-11e7-8321-481fd63f174d_story.html?utm_term=.e0d585d73e1f