Gayle King is speaking out about new sexual harassment allegations against her friend and former CBS This Morning co-host, Charlie Rose.
King addressed the allegations on CBS This Morning on Thursday, after The Washington Post published a report that an additional 27 women have accused Rose of sexually harassing them -- 14 CBS News employees and 13 women who worked with him at other jobs -- over a period of 30 years, and that managers were warned of his conduct toward women at the network. Rose responded to the allegations to The Post in a statement reading, “Your story is unfair and inaccurate.”
"I have a very bad case of deja vu, I have to say," King said on-air on Thursday. "I feel sick to my stomach. I don't know what to say about this."
"When the first story broke, I said, Charlie was my friend," she continued. "I still consider him a friend. I know that's not the politically correct thing to say at this moment, but I don't believe in abandoning friends when they're down. That said, this is very troubling, this is disturbing, and you can't discount what these women are saying."
King said she wants to move forward after Rose's firing last November.
"I don't know what more we can do to Charlie Rose except a public flogging," she said. "He's gone, he's not coming back to CBS News. Norah O'Donnell, John Dickerson and I are the new team. We are working very hard here ... and all we can continue to do is continue to do the best possible job that we can, but you see these allegations, you hear these stories and it just makes you sick all over again."
"I'm sick of handling it," she added. "I just want us to move forward ... that being said, you can't ignore what these women are saying. That's also part of my anguish here, to know that women were hurt and sayng the things they're saying, and I think it's good we're having this conversation."
"He tells me that he's fine," King said. "Because I said, 'I'm worried about you.' He keeps assuring me there's no reason to be worried about him, but I am worried about him, I am. And I do care about him. He was a big part of my life for six years. So I can't just turn that off. But I also can't dismiss the stories that I'm hearing, and I do take them very seriously."
On Thursday, The Post reported that concerns about Rose’s behavior were flagged to CBS managers at the network as early as 1986 and as recently as April 2017, when Rose was still co-anchor of CBS This Morning. Multiple women claim to the publication that Rose harassed them with unwanted advances, including groping and exposing himself.
CBS News, which has said it had no human resources complaints about Rose, issued a statement on Thursday.
“Since we terminated Charlie Rose, we’ve worked to strengthen existing systems to ensure a safe environment where everyone can do their best work,” the statement reads. “Some of the actions we have taken have been reported publicly, some have not. We offer employees discretion and fairness, and we take swift action when we learn of unacceptable behavior."
“That said, we cannot corroborate or confirm many of the situations described," the statement continues. "We continue to look for ways to improve our workplace and this period of reflection and action has been important to all of us. We are not done with this process.”
In November, when the initial allegations became public, 76-year-old Rose apologized for his "inappropriate behavior" but noted that he doesn't believe that all the allegations were accurate.
"In my 45 years in journalism, I have prided myself on being an advocate for the careers of the women with whom I have worked. ... It is essential that these women know I hear them and that I deeply apologize for my inappropriate behavior," the 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 it was mistake."
“I have learned a great deal as a result of these events, and I hope others will too," the statement continued. "All of us, including me, are coming to a newer and deeper recognition of the pain caused by conduct in the past, and have come to a profound new respect for women and their lives."