60 Minutes executive producer Jeff Fager has stepped down from his position as head of the CBS news series, the network said in a statement Wednesday.
Fager’s departure is effective immediately, according to the announcement from CBS News president David Rhodes.
60 Minutes executive editor Bill Owens will manage the show until Fager’s replacement is found, Rhodes said, adding, “This action today is not directly related to the allegations surfaced in press reports, which continue to be investigated independently. However, he violated company policy and it is our commitment to uphold those policies at every level.”
The allegations to which Rhodes refers include those published in a recent New Yorker article by Ronan Farrow, in which several current and former employees of the iconic news broadcast claimed that Fager ignored harassment happening within his staff and allowed a culture where inappropriate behavior, including sexual misconduct, was allowed to happen.
In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, Fager put a fine point on his dismissal. “The company’s decision had nothing to do with the false allegations printed in The New Yorker. 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. “My language was harsh and, despite the fact that journalists receive harsh demands for fairness all the time, CBS did not like it. One such note should not result in termination after 36 years, but it did.”
Fager’s departure follows that of network head Les Moonves, who on Sunday was made to step down after Farrow published the second of two New Yorker pieces in which former colleagues of Moonves’, including his former assistant Jessica Pallingston and veteran TV executive Phyllis Golden-Gottlieb, detailed how Moonves allegedly forced and/or coerced them into performing oral sex on him, in addition to allegedly perpetrating other physical and verbal abuse.
In November 2017, CBS This Morning co-host and sometime 60 Minutes presence Charlie Rose was fired from the network for “intolerable behavior” and sexual harassment that happened in conjunction with his eponymous PBS series. (PBS also ended its relationship with the anchor.)