Charlie Rose Argues Women Can't Dress Up "Banter" As Unlawful Harassment

The former co-anchor of "CBS This Morning" seeks dismissal of a lawsuit brought by Katherine Brooks Harris, Sydney McNeal and Chelsea Wei.
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Charlie Rose

Charlie Rose has moved to dismiss a lawsuit that accuses him of perpetrating sexual harassment. In a motion to dismiss filed in New York court Thursday, the former co-anchor of CBS This Morning says that the three women suing him "seek to bolster their threadbare and conclusory claims by exploiting the #MeToo Movement and bootstrapping the accusations of sexual harassment made by third parties against Rose in articles published by The Washington Post."

The lawsuit came in May from Katherine Brooks Harris, Sydney McNeal and Chelsea Wei. The three women filed their complaint months after Rose lost his CBS job as well as his long-running PBS show. The women are suing CBS News, too, and alleging "blatant and repeated sexual harassment" and unlawful retaliation.

Among the examples of misbehavior cited in the complaint is that Rose advised two of the women they were hired because he likes "tall women," that he repeatedly sexually touched the women, that he required Harris to have lunch with him, that he pointed to other women and called them prostitutes, that he repeatedly boasted of his sexual conquests, that he suggested to Harris and McNeal that they have sex with each other, and that he ordered the two of them to visit his home and indicated having sexual fantasies about him.

Rose's lawyers at the firm of Mintz, Levin write, "The Complaint attempts to seize upon routine workplace interactions and banter and spin them into actionable conduct by omitting the context and tone and using suggestive language (i.e., 'sexually'). In the absence of the context, tone, and setting in which comments allegedly were made by Rose or in which Rose allegedly 'touched' any of the Plaintiffs, the Complaint does not establish that a reasonable person in Plaintiffs’ employment relationship would have perceived the alleged conduct as unwanted gender-based conduct. The conclusory examples are meaningless."

The motion to dismiss from Rose also echoes some of the arguments made by CBS News in its own bid to have a judge reject the case. He says that neither Harris nor McNeil have alleged their employment was terminated for gender reasons, and adds that there isn't any allegation Wei was employed by Rose.

"Of course, there is no possibility that the terminations were because of gender," states a footnote in the brief that attributes the firing of Harris and McNeil not to discrimination, but rather because his company was put out of business following the Washington Post story.