KU-affiliated foundation rescinds award honoring Charlie Rose in wake of sexual misconduct allegations

In this April 13, 2017 file photo, Charlie Rose attends The Hollywood Reporter's 35 Most Powerful People in Media party in New York. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)

A foundation affiliated with the University of Kansas has voted to rescind a prestigious journalism award presented last spring to Charlie Rose after at least eight women accused the prominent journalist of sexual misconduct, KU announced Friday.

After the allegations — which included accusations of groping, lewd remarks and indecent exposure — were detailed in a story Monday in The Washington Post, the William Allen White Foundation Board of Trustees announced that it would ask trustees to vote on whether Rose should keep the William Allen White National Citation Award, which honors American journalists who exemplify Kansas newspaperman William Allen White’s ideals “in service to their profession and community.”

Trustees voted to pull the award, although KU in its news release did not indicate the vote tally, and calls to KU went unanswered Friday. The foundation’s website lists dozens of trustees.

“Mr. Rose does not exemplify the ideals of this award,” said Julie Adam, spokeswoman for the KU School of Journalism, in the release Friday, citing recent reports detailing “sexual harassment and a pattern of unprofessional behavior by Mr. Rose during his career.”

Rose, 75, was given the award in April, although he did not appear at KU to accept it because of health reasons. Broadcast journalist Bob Schieffer accepted the award on his behalf and extolled Rose’s contributions to the profession, including a popular, long-running interview program on PBS called “Charlie Rose” and a more recent stint as co-host of “CBS This Morning.”

CBS fired Rose on Tuesday, and PBS pulled his program from the air. Rose issued an apology on Twitter in which he denied some of the allegations and said he believed he was acting on “shared feelings” between him and his accusers, most of whom were young women who worked for him.

“It is essential that these women know I hear them and that I deeply apologize for my inappropriate behavior,” Rose’s statement read. “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.”

For almost 70 years, the White award, a bronze medallion with an inscription touting service to “profession and community,” has honored outstanding American journalists. Previous winners have included Bob Woodward, Leonard Pitts, Gwen Ifill, Candy Crowley, Bob Dotson and many others.

“The trustees’ vote reflects the inscription on the citation,” said KU journalism dean Ann Brill in the news release. “William Allen White was an important journalist who also felt that it was important to make a positive difference in the community.”

Earlier this week, Brill said the allegations against Rose were “beyond disturbing.”

“I admire the women who have the courage to speak out and say, ‘No more,'” she added. “We have to make it safe for everyone to do their jobs.”

Rose joins a list of other media personalities accused of sexual misconduct, including New York Times White House correspondent Glenn Thrush, NBC analyst Mark Halperin, NPR news chief Michael Oreskes, Fox News host Eric Bolling, Fox host Bill O’Reilly and Fox CEO Roger Ailes, among others.

The Journal-World could not confirm on Friday whether any other award given at KU during its 152-year history has been rescinded for any reason.