Gayle King: This is a body blow and it hurts. I’m still trying to process it, because I have admired Charlie for a long time. I don’t believe in abandoning a friend, and this is heartbreaking. So that’s where I am. At the end of the day, there has to be a way of redemption and healing for all that are going through this, and I honest to God don’t know the answer.
In the meantime, I am grateful for the courageous women who are speaking up. They’ve sent a message that the rules have changed. I think some people are still trying to figure out what the rules are, but they’ve definitely changed and that’s a good thing. I’m not anti-man—I know there are a lot of good ones out there—but there’s more to come on this story. Let the chips fall where they may.
Norah O'Donnell: It was so disturbing to read about the abuse these women say they suffered. I learned of the allegations against Charlie Rose in the midst of a six-month-long investigation into harassment and assault at the U.S.Air Force Academy. I had been in Colorado with cadets who broke down sobbing, telling me about what they had been through. And you can’t be a journalist—you can’t be a human being—and hear those stories and not realize how soul-crushing abuse is.
So when we went on air the day after the revelations, I felt such a heavy responsibility to get it right. I didn’t even mention Charlie’s name, because I wasn’t there yet, but I knew I needed to talk about what this does to women. We cannot achieve equality in the workplace until there is a reckoning.
Gayle King and Norah O'Donnell are coanchors of CBS This Morning; in 2017, their now former cohost Charlie Rose was accused of sexual harassment by at least eight women and fired.
This package appears in the March issues of Esquire and Marie Claire.