CBS's Jeff Fager: 60 Minutes producer out amid #MeToo claims

Tabitha Dunn
September 13, 2018

"My language was harsh and, despite the fact that journalists receive harsh demands for fairness all the time, CBS did not like it", Fager said in the statement to CNN.

CBS said on Monday that it would pay $120 million to former Chief Executive Officer Leslie Moonves if an internal investigation into allegations of harassment fails to provide grounds for his dismissal.

Hours after "60 Minutes" executive producer Jeff Fager claimed that his termination Wednesday stemmed from a text message he'd sent to a CBS reporter, the contents of the message were divulged by the network.

Rhodes said Fager violated company policy but did not specify the policy.

The New Yorker this summer reported allegations that Fager, who had been at CBS News for more than three decades, touched employees inappropriately and enabled a culture of bad behavior inside the organization.

"If you repeat these false accusations without any of your own reporting to back them up you will be held responsible for harming me", Fager responded.

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Fager was named chairman of CBS News in 2011, overseeing the transition on "Evening News" between Dan Rather and Katie Couric. "I don't care if 30 more women come forward and allege this kind of stuff", board member Arnold Kopelson is alleged to have said in a meeting shortly afterwards, "Les is our leader and it wouldn't change my opinion of him".

Earlier Wednesday, CBS News president David Rhodes announced in a memo to staffers that Fager would be "leaving the company effective immediately," adding that the decision was "not directly related" to sexual misconduct allegations against him published by Ronan Farrow in The New Yorker.

Duncan revealed the contents of the text message on the "CBS Evening News" on Wednesday, "since Jeff Fager publicly referred to our exchange today". Fager has denied the claims. 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. She said Fager groped her at a work party.

In response to that allegation, Fager told CBS News, "This is an outrageous claim and it didn't happen".

On Sunday, Les Monves (right) resigned as CEO of CBS for a string of sexual misconduct allegations. Rhodes was then brought in as news president, taking over full management of the news division when Fager went back to exclusively running "60 Minutes".

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