During a Friday interview with actress Reese Witherspoon about season two of AppleTV+’s The Morning Show, real-life CBS Mornings host Gayle King was impressed with the “thoughtful” and “very interesting” way the fictional series dealt with the all-too-real topic of a network news anchor being fired for sexually harassing co-workers. Without mentioning her disgraced former co-host Charile Rose, King marveled at how the #MeToo storyline humanized the perpetrator.
“Last season, Steve Carell’s character, Mitch Kessler, he was ousted from the morning show because of misconduct. You all could have ended his storyline there very easily. But yet, his storyline continues. Why?,” King wondered. Witherspoon claimed that it was an examination of “cancel culture” and lamented that “we’re dismissing people and exiling people,” though she admitted “some rightly so.”
The actress sympathetically noted:
I think that there’s this whole human cost, and what does it mean to be publicly shamed? How do you put your life back together?... And I think it’s really – really thoughtful of our writers to think about what is the extent of the human experience that comes out of cancel culture....And also can we separate the person from their work. And it definitely makes you think.
In response, King seemed impressed: “Yeah, it does. It raises some very interesting questions.”
Later in the discussion, King asked: “Watching your show, Reese Witherspoon, makes me think morning TV is ruthless. Is it?” Witherspoon quipped: “I don’t know, Gayle. You tell me.” King chuckled and dodged: “I refuse to answer on the grounds that it may incriminate others.”
Perhaps the network news ruthlessness she referred to involved some of the following:
> The sexual harassment scandal of disgraced former CBS This Morning co-host Charlie Rose
> The sexual harassment scandal of disgraced former 60 Minutes producer Jeff Fager
> The sexual harassment scandal of disgraced former CBS CEO Les Moonves
> The sexual harassment scandal of NBC’s disgraced former Today show co-host Matt Lauer
> The sexual harassment scandal of ABC’s disgraced former Good Morning America producer Michael Corn
In addition, CNN still employs Zoom meeting masturbator Jeffrey Toobin and newly accused sexual-harassing anchor Chris Cuomo, brother of disgraced former sexually-harassing New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
When AppleTV+ began running trailers for The Morning Show in 2019 – during commercial breaks for the real network morning shows – the parallels between it and the Rose and Lauer scandals were obvious.
King’s chat with Witherspoon about rehabilitating a fictional morning show sexual harasser was brought to viewers by Toyota and Comcast. You can fight back by letting these advertisers know what you think of them sponsoring such content.
Here is a transcript of the September 24 exchange:
8:17 AM ET
GAYLE KING: It’s been 20 years since Reese Witherspoon became a household name. You remember Elle Woods in Legally Blonde. Since then, she has also become a powerful force in Hollywood, “powerful” is the word there. An investment firm recently poured hundreds of millions of dollars into her media company, Hello Sunshine. Isn’t that the perfect name for a Reese Witherspoon company? Yup. The investment is accelerating Hello Sunshine’s mission to tell diverse stories about women in all mediums. They produce hits series like Little Fires Everywhere and Big Little Lies, and The Morning Show, which just kicked off its new season on Apple. Reese plays anchor Bradley Jackson in the series. She joined us from Nashville to talk all about it.
Let’s talk about Bradley Jackson. I love this girl because she goes from someone who’s grateful to – “Oh, golly, gosh, I’m so thankful to have this opportunity” – to when she’s passed over for a job at the evening news that she thought she deserved, to basically telling the boss, “[beep] you. And by the way, I’m going to call in sick for the next month.” Why was it important for you – I laughed at that, too, Reese, because I’m thinking if I had done that here at CBS I’d be on Times Square going, “Taxi, please. Does Reese Witherspoon need an assistant? I play nicely with others.” Why was it important for you that she demand more?
REESE WITHERSPOON: Well, I think – I was reading this interesting thing about work and how we – the three stages of work are, “I can’t wait to get there,” and then the next stage is, “I’m so glad I’m here,” and then the third stage is, “Get me out of here.” So I think, you know, she’s so excited to be in the rooms where it happens, but she demands respect. And I think it’s kind of fun to pull behind the curtain and see, you know, when people go into negotiation tactics, they can be ruthless, even if they’re, you know, new to the job.
KING: Last season, Steve Carell’s character, Mitch Kessler, he was ousted from the morning show because of misconduct. You all could have ended his storyline there very easily. But yet, his storyline continues. Why?
WITHERSPOON: I think it’s an important time right now that we’re talking so much about cancel culture. You know, and we’re dismissing people and exiling people. And some rightly so. I think that there’s this whole human cost, and what does it mean to be publicly shamed? How do you put your life back together? Your life isn’t over, you have to reconstitute and rebuild. And I think it’s really – really thoughtful of our writers to think about what is the extent of the human experience that comes out of cancel culture. And also can we separate the person from their work. And it definitely makes you think.
KING: Yeah, it does. It raises some very interesting questions.
KING: Watching your show, Reese Witherspoon, makes me think morning TV is ruthless. Is it?
WITHERSPOON: I don’t know, Gayle. You tell me.
KING [LAUGHS]: I refuse to answer on the grounds that it may incriminate others.