Charlie Rose has been fired from CBS and PBS following allegations of sexual harassment. CBS News President David Rhodes said that decision was made due to "extremely disturbing and intolerable behavior said to have revolved around his PBS program." Rose is the latest figure that has been accused of sexual harassment. The suspension and subsequent termination were sudden. As his co-hosts, Gayle King and Norah O'Donnell were at a loss for words after the reports of sexual misconduct were announced. In an era of "fake news" and strong mistrust in the media, Rose was seen as a leading figure in journalism.
That does not mean that we can ignore these allegations.
The discussions that have followed since the initial scandal surrounding Harvey Weinstein have been mixed. Some have been more willing to criticize particular individuals accused of sexual misconduct, rather than others. We cannot pick and chose who should be held accountable for their actions. This is not based on individuals, political parties, or careers. If someone is accused of sexual misconduct, we must look at the accusations and facts. Not whether or not we liked them for their work or personality prior to the allegations.
If someone in a position of power is taking advantage of their role and abusing their power, they need to be held accountable. I had an interesting conversation with my professor. As we discussed the moment we heard the news. As we were taught to follow Charlie Rose's interview style in class. Do we stop teaching his interview style because of these allegations? How do you separate their work from the allegations?
We came to the conclusion that you can not do that. That does not discredit their impact on their field. But, we must recognize the impact the accused had on the accuser. The accuser can not separate the situation, and we need to recognize those feelings.
"What would you do if you were God and he walked up," asked my professor as we discussed Charlie Rose. Does this alleged behavior take away from the good he has done and his accomplishments? Yes. There is no way to separate the two if you are being realistic.
How long did this behavior go on? Did this behavior deter someone who was on a similar career trajectory as he was? There a million questions, that only those on the inside would know. But, we need to stop trying to justify the alleged actions of the accused. Just because they seem like a nice guy or are accomplished mean that they did not sexually harass women. Sexual harassment and misconduct is a power play in the workplace. It is a blatant abuse of power and meant to make the alleged women feel inferior. We need to stop this toxic cycle and look at the facts in black and white.