Judge Dismisses Retaliation Claim in Harassment Suit Against Charlie Rose

Judge rules that disparaging comments toward accusers did not amount to retaliation under New York City law

A judge has dismissed a claim of retaliation included in a harassment lawsuit filed by three women — Katherine Brooks Harris, Sydney McNeal, and Yuqing (Chelsea) Wei — against former CBS and PBS news anchor Charlie Rose.

After the publication of a Washington Post story detailing multiple accusations of sexual misconduct, PBS cancelled Rose’s talk show “Charlie Rose” and CBS fired him. McNeal and Harris were let go along with the rest of the “Charlie Rose” staff , and Wei, a CBS employee, said she was reassigned to an entry-level position after Rose was fired and eventually left the network on medical leave. The women state that Rose called them names like   “f–ing idiot” and “f–king kindergartener” prior to the loss of their jobs.

But in a decision issued Thursday in New York, Judge Doris Ling-Cohan determined that Rose’s comments, as well as the plaintiffs’ subsequent job losses. did not amount to retaliation under New York City’s human rights law.

“Inasmuch as CBS fired Rose the day after the article was published, McNeal and Harris cannot show that they were fired for any reason, other than that there was no longer any work for them,” Ling-Cohan wrote in Thursday’s decision. “Moreover, plaintiffs cited no case law in which yelling or cursing of the nature alleged here, constitutes retaliation.”

The remaining claims of the plaintiffs’ lawsuit against Rose, which was first filed in New York Supreme Court last year, will still stand as the case goes to discovery. In the initial lawsuit, plaintiffs accused Rose of subjecting the three women to “repeated, ongoing, and unlawful physical and verbal harassment,” which included sexual touching, sexual comments, and sexual advances.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.

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