'60 Minutes' chief Jeff Fager leaves CBS amid harassment accusations
Jeff Fager, the executive producer of the flagship CBS news program, “60 Minutes,” has left the network.
His exit comes following a series of articles by Ronan Farrow in the New Yorker that included accusations that Fager inappropriately touched employees and that he also allowed harassment in his division.
“This action today is not directly related to the allegations surfaced in press reports, which continue to be investigated independently,” CBS News President David Rhodes said in a memo. “However, he violated company policy and it is our commitment to uphold those policies at every level.”
It is unclear what specific company policy the memo references.
CBS “terminated my contract early because I sent a text message to one of our own CBS reporters demanding that she be fair in covering the story,” Fager said in a statement to CNN. “My language was harsh and, despite the fact that journalists receive harsh demands for fairness all the time, CBS did not like it.”
Fager, who is a former CBS News chairman and was a “60 Minutes” executive producer for 15 seasons, has denied the allegations, which include dissuading employees from reporting incidents to HR.
CBS had been under intense scrutiny for several weeks following the first New Yorker article, which largely focused on CEO Leslie Moonves. Outside law firms were brought in to conduct investigations.
Moonves — once considered among the most powerful and well-compensated media executives — resigned as chief of CBS on Sunday evening in light of a second New Yorker article detailing allegations of sexual assault, harassment and intimidation.
In a statement, Moonves said, “Untrue allegations from decades ago are now being made against me that are not consistent with who I am.”
Moonves is expected to receive millions from a settlement with the CBS board. According to a company statement, Moonves and the company would be making a $20 million donation, taken from Moonves’s severance, “to one or more organizations that support the #MeToo movement and equality for women in the workplace.”
In November 2017, CBS News dropped Charlie Rose following a Washington Post investigation detailing allegations of unwanted sexual advances toward women. Rose had been a co-anchor since 2012 on “CBS This Morning” and a contributing correspondent on “60 Minutes.”
“Despite Charlie’s important journalistic contribution to our news division, there is absolutely nothing more important, in this or any organization, than ensuring a safe, professional workplace — a supportive environment where people feel they can do their best work,” Rhodes said in a memo last year. “We need to be such a place.”