NEW YORK — Charlie Rose says three women who worked with him are trying to exploit the #MeToo movement to take “routine workplace interactions and banter” and spin them into a sexual harassment case.
Rose, 76, the former highly-regarded journalist for CBS and PBS, late Thursday filed a motion to dismiss a civil lawsuit by the former employees. He’s joining co-defendant CBS, which is also seeking to get the case thrown out of New York state court.
Rose was fired by CBS and PBS last year for sexual misconduct after multiple women came forward publicly and anonymously late last year to accuse him of sexually inappropriate behavior in the workplace and at his home.
Katherine Brooks Harris, Sydney McNeal and Yuqing Wei, described as three junior employees in their 20s, filed a lawsuit in May against Rose, his production company and CBS, accusing the former “This Morning” co-host and “60 Minutes” contributor with “blatant and repeated sexual harassment,” including unwanted touching and sexual comments.
Wei said Rose referred to her as “China Doll” and that he “insisted on kissing” her and two other female subordinates before leaving for a summer vacation, the women’s suit said.
After Rose was fired, Wei said she was demoted and became ill as a result of the “unlawful conduct” from CBS.
The women’s suit landed one day after a Washington Post story chronicled accusations of sexual harassment against Rose by 27 women. Those accusations followed a November 2017 Post story in which eight women said Rose had sexually harassed them in incidents occurring over two decades.
Rose, in court papers, called the women’s examples meaningless in terms of establishing any harassment case under New York civil-rights law.
In the motion to dismiss, Rose argued that Harris, McNeal and Wei did not state a “valid claim” to show that Rose discriminated against them on the basis of gender.
“Tacitly recognizing the weakness of their factual allegations, Plaintiffs 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 motion said.
It may be three more months before there is a hearing on the case and more time after that before there is a decision.
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