Charlie Rose Deposition: He Admits "Inappropriate" Relationships

Defending a sexual harassment lawsuit, Rose testifies about his studio nickname and flirting with "CBS Morning" co-anchors. But the plaintiffs say he needs to be even more forthcoming.
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

During a deposition in November, Charlie Rose was pushed to address sexual relationships with co-workers. The ousted CBS Morning anchor admitted to having romantic relationships with women who worked for him, but his attorneys stopped him from providing details about the interactions or whether he felt any remorse about his conduct.

Nevertheless, Rose did explain why those relationships were "inappropriate."

Rose testified, "I'm saying inappropriate because the fact I had relationships with people in the workplace over those 45 years and, you know, we have now come to understand and appreciate and had by then that romantic relationships or intimacies were not appropriate in the workplace because, you know, because there was power and balance, and you were in some cases the boss and you had a relationship that was defined within the workplace."

Rose's deposition (read in full) was made public Monday as part of an ongoing sexual harassment lawsuit brought by three women who allege being subject to touching, sexual banter, and degrading behavior. The women have settled with CBS, but the legal action against Rose continues. He previously attempted to dismiss the case with the argument that plaintiffs were seizing upon routine workplace interactions and couldn't support viable claims of harassment and retaliation. The case is now nearing the end of the discovery phase, and the plaintiffs Katherine Brooks Harris, Sydney McNeal and Chelsea Wei are demanding that Rose be forced to do another deposition and address lines of questioning his attorneys have shot down.

During the deposition, Rose appeared to acknowledge that he had established a reputation at CBS.

"Did you have a nickname in the studio, Charlie fuck'n Rose?" asked Kenneth Goldberg.

"I've heard that, yes," replied Rose.

Rose added that he never called himself that, but others in the studio did.

"Did Gayle King refer to you in that way?" asked Goldberg.

"Yes."

"How about Norah O'Donnell, did she use that term with you?"

"I could imagine she did, but I don't remember specifically."

King has in the past stated that the allegations against Rose made her "sick to her stomach," but denied prior knowledge. (King's rep tells THR, "Gayle King had a friendly professional relationship with Charlie Rose. She has spoken about this many times and we refer you to her previous comments. ")

During the deposition, Rose also admitted to flirting with King, O'Donnell and others in the CBS studio.

But there were some lines that Rose wouldn't cross. For instance, he was asked about a line in the Washington Post exposé about forcing an ex-intern to watch an S&M movie scene. Before he could answer, his attorney Jonathan Bach interjected.

Goldberg is now before New York Supreme Court Justice Doris Ling-Cohan demanding that Rose be compelled to address various topics including whether he reviewed documents to prepare for his deposition, whether the Washington Post stories were accurate, whether he engaged in inappropriate conduct toward the specific plaintiffs in this case, and whether he felt remorse.

"Plaintiffs’ questions/lines of questioning are proper and routine in gender discrimination cases," states a memorandum in support of compelling him. "[T]hey probe, among other items, Rose’s motive to discriminate against women in the workplace, his habits towards women in the workplace, and his workplace behavior. Plaintiffs’ questionings are also proper because Plaintiffs have obtained evidence of Rose’s treatment of other women in the workplace through deposition/affidavits. Rose refused to answer questions about his conduct towards and interactions with many women in the workplace, including women that have directly accused him of sexual harassment through affidavits, depositions, prior lawsuits and statements to among other outlets the Washington Post. Plaintiffs’ questionings are also proper because Rose has publicly alleged, as a defense, his treatment of women in the workplace during his entire 45-year career in journalism, and that his conduct toward Plaintiffs was not based upon gender and was just a 'joke.'"