Producer out as CBS cleans up after harassment claims

Joann Johnston
September 13, 2018

Jeff Fager, the executive producer of 60 Minutes who was accused of promoting a culture of sexual harassment alongside Les Moonves within CBS's news division, is leaving the company.

Jeff Fager of the show "60 Minutes Sports" speaks on stage during the Showtime panel presentation of the 2013 Winter Television Critics Association Press Tour in Pasadena, California January 12, 2013.

"Jeff Fager is leaving the company effective immediately", said CBS News president David Rhodes in a memo to staffers, which was quickly circulated to media reporters Wednesday.

Fager is the third major figure at CBS to lose his job in the past year over misconduct allegations, following news anchor Charlie Rose last November and CBS Corp.

Just hours after Fager was sacked on Wednesday, a composed Jericka Duncan spoke on CBS Evening News about the text messages and then announced: 'I am that reporter'. Fager has denied charges made by former CBS employees in the New Yorker magazine of personal misbehavior at parties and not disciplining people under him who had misconduct issues. "However, he violated company policy and it is our commitment to uphold those policies at every level", Rhodes wrote.

Fager did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.

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"This action today is not".

Bill Owens will manage the "60 Minutes" team until a new executive producer is hired.

Duncan showed a text message, apparently from Fager, which read, "If you repeat these false accusations without any of your own reporting to back them up you will be held responsible for harming me". My language was harsh and, despite the fact that journalists receive harsh demands for fairness all the time, CBS did not like it.

But Moonves wasn't the only CBS honcho named, and the spotlight was placed firmly on Fager once Moonves was shown the door. "One such note should not result in termination after 36 years", Fager said, "but it did". One former female senior producer told Farrow that Fager promoted another senior producer who had been physically abusive toward her, twisting her arm behind her back, and advised her to not go to human resources with her concerns. "I really felt like this was one of the most sexist places I've ever worked". Fager told The New Yorker, "I have never discouraged anyone from going to H.R".

CBS has figured prominently in coverage of sexual harassment in the workplace.

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