A day after the Washington Post published a slew of new allegations against sacked CBS This Morning host Charlie Rose, three former CBS employees have filed a lawsuit against him and the network claiming sexual harassment and retailiation.
According the suit filed today in New York Supreme Court (read it here), Katherine Brooks Harris, Sydney McNeal and Yuqing “Chelsea” Wei — all in their 20s — were assigned jobs where they were “were required to spend a substantial amount of time working with Mr. Rose,” who is in his mid-70s. The suit says he “subjected Plaintiffs to repeated, ongoing and unlawful physical and verbal sexual harassment, including without limitation: (a) sexual touching; (b) sexual comments; and (c) sexual advances.”
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They also claim that “CBS Management, numerous broadcasters and studio staff witnessed Mr. Rose’s unlawful conduct, while he was employed by CBS.”
Among the specific claims: “Mr. Rose advised Ms. Harris and Ms. McNeal that they were hired because he likes ‘tall women'”; “Mr. Rose repeatedly touched Plaintiffs, including without limitation caressing and touching their arms, shoulders, waist and back, pulling them close to his body and kissing them on the cheek”; and “Mr. Rose referred to Ms. Wei as ‘China doll,’ a fetish term.”
The suit also alleges that Rose terminated Harris and McNeal in the wake of a November 22 New York Times article that detailed sexual harassment allegations against him and that CBS did not offer them alternate positions. They say that he continued to “seek to contact Plaintiffs by telephone and email.”
The suit says Wei filed an HR complaint against Rose on November 20 while she was working as an anchor assistant on CBS This Morning. “CBS never got back to Ms. Wei about her complaint,” the lawsuit says. Instead, she claims, the network “unlawfully retaliated” against her in January by questioning the accuracy of her timesheets and eventually replaced her. On February 12, the suit says, Wei was “told that she no longer will be working with the anchor teams.” She says her health began to fail and she took a medical leave of absence in early March.
Deadline has reached out to CBS for comment.
Kenneth Goldberg of Goldberg & Fliegel LLP in New York is representing the women in the new suit, which seeks monetary damages including front and back pay, bonuses, benefits and interest, along with punitive damages.
CBS News fired Rose on November 21 in the wake of multiple accusations of sexual harassment. Later that same day, PBS canceled his long-running eponymous interview show. The network and pubcaster had suspended him a day earlier after the Washington Post reported that eight women said Rose made “unwanted sexual advances toward them, including lewd phone calls, walking around naked in their presence, or groping their breast, buttocks or genital areas.”
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