When CBS News fired longtime newsman Charlie Rose from his current gigs as co-host of Morning News and correspondent for 60 Minutes Tuesday, the dynamics of decades of abusive sexual harassment, molestation and more escalates a massive cultural shock and needed sea change for many lives and our society.
PBS followed suit, cancelling Rose’s news show on its network and Bloomberg TV terminated the rebroadcast agreement of his PBS show.
His long habits of parading naked in an open robe in front of interns and women who worked for him, touching them in private and intimate places and groping and trying to force himself on women went on for far too long for the 75-year-old Rose and too many people stayed quiet or looked the other way.
What we see happening today is no longer just a random case of an aging comedian like Bill Cosby using drugs to entice women into bed, or an obnoxious movie producer like Harvey Weinstein demanding and getting oral sex from young women who feared losing their jobs or an entire career if they did not submit.
It’s a pattern that has haunted corporate board rooms, Congressional offices, cars parked in dark places and even public places for far too long.
Actor Kevin Spacey spent most of his movie career chasing young men for his sexual gratification and now resides in a treatment center with his career in ruins. Comedian Al Franken, now a Senator, massaged a broadcast anchor’s breasts while she slept on a USO Tour and is now accused of even more harassment of a woman as a Senator. He remains in office amid calls for him to quit and/or face an investigation.
This stuff is not new. It has been happening for far too many years.
Virginia’s Thomas Jefferson cheated on his wife with slave Sally Hemmings. Franklin D. Roosevelt died in the company of his mistress, not his wife.
Flash forward to the early 1960s and President John F. Kennedy dallied with actress Marilyn Monroe but took the virginity of a 19-year-old intern one night in the bedroom of the First Lady in the White House.
In the 1990s, Former President Bill Clinton enjoyed oral sex from 19-year-old White House intern Monica Lewinsky in the Oval Office and used cigars as erotic toys on her. Current President Donald Trump came into office last year after decades of sexual debauchery. On an audio tape, he bragged about how easy it was to take advantage of young women by grabbing them by their crotch while appearing on a “reality show” in television before he ran for office.
Trump liked to walk in unannounced into the dressing rooms of teenage contestants in beauty pageants and gawk at the topless or completely nude.
“I can because I own the pageants,” he bragged, adding that “I’ve seen it all.”
You know they’re standing there with no clothes. Is everybody OK? And you see these incredible looking women. And so I sort of get away with things like that.
Tasha Dixon was 18 and Miss Arizona when Trump walked into the dressing room with naked and half-naked girls. She said pageant officials urged them to “fawn all over him, go walk up to him” while undressed.
Trump faced a lawsuit from a woman who said she and another man raped her during a wild party when she was an aspiring 13-year-old model. The suit disappeared in the final weekend before the 2016 presidential election and sources say it took a large amount of cash to make it go away. His dismissed complaints of harassment from more than a dozen other women as “fake news.” He says that a lot about any news reports he doesn’t like.
The House of Representatives opened an ethics investigation into 88-year-old Congressman John Conyers this week after revelations that his office settled a claim of sexual harassment filed by a former staff member. Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert tried to hide hush money payments to a male victim of his sexual antics and went to prison.
News emerges each week of other such dalliances by elected officials, business titans and entertainment moguls. When it comes to power and manipulation, sexual abuse is frequent and addictive.
“This has to end,” said CBS Morning Show co-host Norah O’Donnell Tuesday in a discussion of Charlie Rose.
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