'Charlie Rose Show' Makeup Artist Sues for Harassment, Misclassification

Charlie Rose - Getty - H 2018
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Charlie Rose's longtime makeup artist says she witnessed him harass women in the workplace for more than 20 years and that she was denied severance when his show was canceled and she lost her job.

Gina Riggi on Thursday sued Rose and Bloomberg in New York state court, alleging that the longtime news anchor created a toxic work environment for woman and that she was misclassified as an independent contractor. 

According to Riggi's complaint, she started working on The Charlie Rose show in 1995 and spent more than two decades managing its makeup department. Riggi details Rose's alleged sexually harassing and abusive conduct toward her female colleagues and says she felt a maternal instinct to protect them. (Read the details of the allegations in the complaint below.)

"As the Show's third longest-tenured employee, behind only Executive Producer Yvette Vega and Mr. Rose himself, Ms. Riggi personally was subjected to, and observed, Mr. Rose's inappropriate conduct and harassment of female staff on countless occasions," states the complaint. "Despite being a victim of Mr. Rose's misogynistic abuse herself, Ms. Riggi served as a resource for other female staff, many of whom used her makeup room and the adjoining Green Room, where guests waited, as a refuge from Mr. Rose."

She also alleges that Rose was abusive during on-set touch-ups of his hair and makeup and "routinely ridiculed" her appearance and weight in public.

Riggi was terminated when the show was cancelled amid harassment allegations against Rose, and alleges she was denied a severance payment because the company didn't consider her to be an employee. She also says she was unable to obtain unemployment benefits because she was misclassified as an independent contractor, despite not having a flexible schedule, the ability to work for other employers or control her work environment.

She's suing for discrimination and harassment, violation of New York labor law and unjust enrichment and is seeking lost wages, compensatory and punitive damages. 

Bloomberg on Friday sent The Hollywood Reporter a statement in response to the lawsuit: "At no time was the plaintiff an employee of ours. We understand that the plaintiff was a contractor of Charlie Rose Inc., and given that they operated independently of us, any of her compensation would have been handled solely by Charlie Rose Inc."