CBS This Morning co-host Gayle King on Tuesday launched a preemptive strike against her own network. She attacked top officials for not showing transparency in an investigation of ex-CEO Les Moonves, a man now accused of sexual harassment and assault. “In our own house, we must have transparency,” demanded King, perhaps in a bid not to, once again, sound as though she was irritated at having to cover such stories at her network.
In an earlier report, correspondent Jericka Duncan said of the disgraced ex-CEO, now accused of exposing himself and unwanted kissing: “We may never know exactly what CBS is able to discover about his behavior. In his separation agreement, the company agreed to keep the investigation into the allegations confidential.”
After that report, King hammered CBS, declaring, “The part you mentioned about transparency is very disturbing to me because I would think how can we have this investigation and not know how it comes out?” She continued, “I don't know how we move forward if we don't, we at CBS, don't have full transparency about what we find.”
King concluded, “In our own house, we must have transparency.” However, there were shades of King’s previous stance on Charlie Rose. She reminded, “Les Moonves has done wonderful things for this company and we can't forget that either.”
The co-host revealed, “I'm sick and sick of the story and sickened the by everything that we keep hearing.” If this sounds familiar, it should. On May 3, 2018, after the scandal was exposed, King whined on-air about having to cover it: “I don't know what to say about this....I don't know what more we can do to Charlie Rose except a public flogging. He's gone....I’m sick of handling it.”
On May 4, 2018, King reversed course, saying of the Rose inquiry: “Let the chips fall where they may.”
On Monday, co-host Norah O’Donnell spoke out against Moonves, but also explained how the story impacted her: “...The most powerful media executive in America has resigned in the wake of this Me Too movement and he's my boss — or he was my boss.” She added, “Les has always treated me fairly and with respect.”
A partial transcript is below. Click “expand” to read more:
CBS This Morning
JERICKA DUNCAN: Moonves, for now, will remain an unpaid adviser to CBS with a company-provided office in New York or Los Angeles along with home security services. We may never know exactly what CBS is able to discover about his behavior. In his separation agreement, the company agreed to keep the investigation into the allegations confidential. Victim advocates are telling me they are pushing the network for transparency.
DUNCAN: The independent investigation is also looking at the culture here within CBS News. It's been nearly ten months since the company fired Charlie Rose over reports of sexual harassment. And 60 Minutes executive producer Jeffrey Fager has denied allegations of inappropriate behavior and of tolerating misconduct. Obviously, as you mentioned yesterday, a tough story. I think as far as not just reckoning, people want results. And part of that is report which, of course, they’re advocating for transparency. But we're not sure when that report will be —
GAYLE KING: I am sorry again that it hits so close to home for us. I'm sick and sick of the story and sickened the by everything that we keep hearing. The part you mentioned about transparency is very disturbing to me because I would think how can we have this investigation and not know how it comes out? Les Moonves has been on the record. He say, listen, he didn't do these things. That it was consensual, that he hasn't hurt anybody's career. I would think it would be in his best interests for us to hear what the report finds out. On the other hand, you have women who coming forward, credibly talking about something that's so painful and humiliating. It's been my experience that women don't come out and speak this way for no reason.
They just don't. They just don't do it. And so I don't know how we move forward if we don't, we at CBS, don't have full transparency about what we find. John, you know, I wasn't here yesterday because I was in a wedding in Europe as you guys know. I thought it was interesting when you said a friend of yours said for 30 years this has haunted her. Of course, we were talking about it all weekend. Someone said, how does anybody remember what happened 30 years ago? When it is that traumatic and that humiliating, you remember every single detail.
JOHN DICKERSON: Like it had happened yesterday.
DICKERSON: And not just in the moment. It's when you go to the lawyer and the lawyer says, it's your word against his.
DICKERSON: And that sense of powerless lives you with for a long time.
KING: In our own house, we must have transparency. I certainly feel for Julie Chen today. She's in a very difficult position. Les Moonves has done wonderful things for this company, and we can't forget that either. So it’s just a bad situation all the way around. But I'm glad that we are covering the story. It's important that we cover it and get to the bottom of whatever it is.