Lost in all the breathless reporting about Ronan Farrow’s “New Yorker” story of sexual shenanigans during the Les Moonves era at CBS is the harsh light his story turns on to former CBS News President and current “60 Minutes” executive producer Jeff Fager.
Farrow writes about Fager’s actions at company parties:
Six former employees told me that Fager, while inebriated at company parties, would touch employees in ways that made them uncomfortable.
One former “60 Minutes” producer told me, “It was always ‘Let’s go say hello to Jeff, ’cause you have to pay homage to him, but let’s do it early in the evening, before he starts getting really handsy.’ ”
In one incident, at which several employees were present, Fager allegedly made drunken advances to an associate producer, commenting on her breasts and becoming belligerent when she rebuffed him. (Fager denied the allegations, saying that “they never happened.”
According to Katie Couric, former “CBS Evening News” anchor and a contributing correspondent for “60 Minutes,” CBS News “felt like an old boys’ club where a number of talented women seemed to be marginalized and undervalued.”
Farrow told the story of Erin Gee, who worked at CBS for more than 15 years.
Gee filed a lawsuit alleging that an executive director at “CBS Evening News” urged her to have sex with a co-worker with whom she was having difficulties in order to “break the ice,” and that she was demoted after complaining about gender discrimination.
Fager has issued a rather aggressive statement on the “The New Yorker” allegations, reading in part:
“It is wrong that our culture can be falsely defined by a few people with an axe to grind who are using an important movement as a weapon to get even, and not by the hundreds of women and men that have thrived, both personally and professionally, at ‘60 Minutes.’ A majority of our senior staff are women.
An “axe to grind?”
It was two weeks ago that we related some of the story by “The Daily Beast’s” Lachlan Cartwright about how Fager reportedly hired a law firm “that boasts about killing stories” to look into a Washington Post investigation surrounding his handling of the Charlie Rose debacle.