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ASU may pull Charlie Rose award amid sexual harassment accusations

FILE - In this Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016, file photo, Charlie Rose participates in the "CBS This Morning" panel at the CBS 2016 Winter TCA in Pasadena, Calif. The Washington Post says eight women have accused television host Charlie Rose of multiple unwanted sexual advances and inappropriate behavior. CBS News suspended Charlie Rose and PBS is to halt production and distribution of a show following the sexual harassment report. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)

PHOENIX — Arizona State University officials said Wednesday they were considering revoking an award given to former CBS News anchor Charlie Rose after he was accused of sexual harassment.

“We are seeking more information and evaluating his receipt of the 2015 Cronkite Award,” the school said in a statement, adding that a decision could come as soon as Friday.

In his acceptance speech, Rose said, “If you honor me for anything, honor me for my belief in the power of questions, the power of curiosity and – yes – the power of confrontation.”

The annual award is given by ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and recognizes a distinguished journalist who embodies the values of the school’s namesake.

ASU called the claims against Rose “deeply troubling” and said that his PBS show was pulled from Arizona airwaves this week.

Rose was fired from CBS on Tuesday, where he had co-hosted “CBS This Morning” since 2012 and was also a contributor to “60 Minutes.”

Rose’s co-hosts on the morning show, Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell, were sharply critical of their colleague on Tuesday. King said the allegations did not fit the Rose she knew, but that “I’m clearly on the side of the women who have been very hurt and damaged by this.”

Rose, 75, said in a statement that he was “greatly embarrassed” and apologized for his behavior.

Three women went on the record in the Post’s deeply-reported story. Reah Bravo, a former associate producer for Rose’s PBS show who began working for him in 2007, told the newspaper: “He was a sexual predator, and I was his victim.” She said Rose groped her on multiple occasions and once, during a business trip to Indiana, called her to his hotel room where he emerged from a shower naked.

Kyle Godfrey-Ryan, one of Rose’s former assistants, was 21 when she said Rose repeatedly called her to describe his fantasies of her swimming naked at the pool at his Long Island home while he watched from his bedroom. She said she was fired when Rose learned she had spoken to a mutual friend about his behavior.

Megan Creydt, who worked as a coordinator on Rose’s PBS show in 2005 and 2006, told the newspaper that she was sitting in the passenger seat as Rose drove in Manhattan one day when he put his hand on her thigh. Five women interviewed by the Post described similar grabs to their legs in what many interpreted as an attempt to see their reactions.

Rose said that he has behaved insensitively at times “and I accept responsibility for that, though I do not believe that all of these allegations are accurate. I always felt that I was pursuing shared feelings, even though I now realize I was mistaken. I have learned a great deal as a result of these events, and I hope others will, too.”

Two hours after the Post story went online, one of its authors, Amy Brittain, tweeted that “sadly, my inbox is already flooded with women who have had similar, disturbing encounters with Charlie Rose.”

Rose owned his interview show, even though PBS distributed it, and that raised questions of what recourse women who had complaints about his behavior could do. The Post quoted Yvette Vega, his longtime executive producer, as saying she failed and deeply regretted not helping women who complained about his behavior.

But it apparently was a poorly-kept secret in the industry. Two former employees interviewed by the Post said young women hired by the show were known as “Charlie’s Angels.” A Post contributing writer who worked on the story said she was reporting on some of the allegations while working at another news organization in 2010 but could not confirm them.

Stories of sexual misconduct have been coming in a flood since The New York Times first reported on Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein’s behavior in early October. Even on Monday, the Times suspended White House reporter Glenn Thrush while it looked into a story about him making drunken, unwanted advances on women. In the news business alone, NBC political reporter Mark Halperin and top National Public Radio news executive Michael Oreskes have lost their jobs.

Interviewed last April outside a Time magazine gala, Rose was asked by The Associated Press about Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, who lost his job when it was revealed his network had paid millions of dollars to settle claims women had made against him.

“All of the cases that raise the issue of sexual harassment, which is a terrible thing, (and) has probably been not exposed enough,” Rose said. “Not enough in the sense of the attention in the past, so that people were afraid to come forward. I think people are coming forward now.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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