Charlie Rose is a distinguished journalist whose 45-year career is marked with notable achievements. He also, apparently, has a history of sexually harassing female colleagues.
So unsettling are the allegations that the board of directors for the William Allen White Foundation at the University of Kansas is considering rescinding the National Citation the foundation presented to Rose earlier this year. Given what is known, rescinding the honor is an appropriate step.
Rose is the latest man to be accused of using his position of authority and power to sexually harass and abuse women he worked with. The Washington Post reported this week that eight women have accused Rose of making unwanted sexual advances toward them. The accusations include that Rose groped their breasts and buttocks, walked around nude in their presence and made lewd phone calls to them.
Rose, who was the host of PBS’s “Charlie Rose” show and the co-host of “CBS This Morning,” was fired by both networks shortly after the allegations surfaced.
While denying some of the allegations, Rose also apologized and acknowledged that his behavior was inappropriate.
“It is essential that these women know I hear them and that I deeply apologize for my inappropriate behavior,” the statement continued. “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.”
Ann Brill, dean of the William Allen White School of Journalism at KU, said that several trustees of the William Allen White Foundation who felt the National Citation — awarded to Rose in April — should be rescinded.
“The allegations against Charlie Rose are beyond disturbing,” Brill said in the statement. “I admire the women who have the courage to speak out and say, ‘No more.’ We have to make it safe for everyone to do their jobs.”
William Allen White, owner and editor of the Emporia Gazette from 1895 until his death in 1944, was a renowned journalist and author. The National Citation Award named for White is presented annually to “an American journalist who exemplifies William Allen White ideals in service to his profession and his community.”
Given the revelations that emerged this week, it’s clear that whatever his journalistic accomplishments, Rose’s behavior with his female colleagues disqualifies him from living up to those ideals.
Actions have consequences. In Rose’s case, it is appropriate for the William Allen White Foundation to rescind his National Citation and remove his name from the list of winners.