Culture&Arts

Jeff Fager claims he was sacked over a text message

Jeff Fager claims he was sacked over a text message

Jeff Fager, the longtime executive producer of 60 Minutes, will be leaving the company following allegations that he sexually harassed employees and tolerated an abusive culture at the show.

The departure of Fager adds tumult to a company that already has plenty of it. Les Moonves, the chairman and CEO of CBS, resigned on Sunday, following the second story from New Yorker's Ronan Farrow describing alleged sexual harassment and assault by the media mogul.

CBS News president David Rhodes announced Fager's exit in a note to staff Wednesday.

Rhodes said Fager violated company policy but did not specify the policy. The latest allegation against Fager comes from Sarah Johansen, a former CBS intern who told Farrow that the "60 Minutes" executive producer groped her at a work party.

Fager denied the allegations in August, telling The New Yorker "they never happened", while saying his accusers were "using an important movement as a weapon", apparently referencing the #MeToo movement. "Instead, they terminated my contract early because I sent a text message to one of our own CBS reporters demanding that she be fair in covering the story", he said.

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"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.

Fager said he would not have thought that one note would have resulted in a dismissal after 36 years at the network, "but it did". 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". But Moonves wasn't the only CBS honcho named, and the spotlight was placed firmly on Fager once Moonves was shown the door. "Similar frustrations about perceived inaction have prompted another woman to raise a claim of misconduct against Jeff Fager".

"All of a sudden, I felt a hand on my ass..." Several employees told The New Yorker about an incident in which senior producer Vicki Gordon informed Fager that a fellow producer, Michael Radutzky, twisted her arm behind her back and threatened to throw office furniture at her. "Bill Owens, who has served as executive editor at 60 Minutes since 2008, will manage the team during the search for a replacement".

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


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