Makeup Artist Sues Charlie Rose for Sexual Harassment, Gender-Based Abuse

Gina Riggi says the former PBS anchor “subjected her to a pattern of misogynistic, abusive behavior”

Charlie Rose at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in 2015
Steve Mack / Getty Images

A former makeup artist to Charlie Rose is suing the disgraced news anchor for sexual harassment and gender-based abuse.

According to court documents filed on Thursday in New York’s Supreme Court, Gina Riggi has accused Rose of subjecting her for more than two decades to “a pattern of misogynistic, abusive behavior, demeaning, embarrassing, and degrading her because of her gender, ridiculing her physical appearance, and physically accosting her on the set, forcing her to use a hand mirror to protect herself from him.”

Riggi, who was nominated for a Daytime Emmy in 1999, was previously the head makeup artist for PBS’ “Charlie Rose” show and had been managing the production’s makeup department for over 22 years, according to the suit. (PBS cancelled Rose’s talk show in 2017 after eight women came forward to accuse Rose of sexual harassment.)

Describing Riggi’s personal interactions with Rose, the suit says that Rose “verbally abused Ms. Riggi on an almost daily basis and regularly swatted at her physically as she attempted to comb his hair or adjust his makeup,” and that, one time, he “forcefully grabbed and twisted her arm, physically hurting her.” She also claims that Rose “routinely ridiculed” her physical appearance and made “derisive and inappropriate comments about her weight” in front of her colleagues.

The suit — which also names Bloomberg LP, where the show was filmed — also claims that Rose created a “toxic work environment suffused with sexual harassment and gender-based abuse” for his female employees and used the show as an “instrument of his predatory sexual behavior.” The documents go on to describe Rose’s alleged harassment and abuse of his assistants, interns and producers that Riggi observed at work and at company parties. (Though the “Charlie Rose” show was filmed in one of Bloomberg LP’s studios, employees and contractors for the show were working under Charlie Rose Inc., an independent entity to Bloomberg.)

Riggi is seeking damages for “impairment and damage to her good name and reputation, emotional distress, mental anguish, emotional pain, suffering, inconvenience, loss of enjoyment of life, lasting embarrassment and humiliation,” as well as for wages denied to her for what she claims is a misclassification of her employment status as an independent contractor.

A spokesperson for Bloomberg told TheWrap that “at no time” was Riggi an employee of theirs and that “any of her compensation would have been handled solely by Charlie Rose Inc.” The spokesperson also pointed to a statement the company had previously given to the Washington Post, which first reported the accusations against Rose in 2017, that it had “no record of any complaint” made against Rose.

Jonathan Bach, an attorney for Rose, told TheWrap in a statement that Rose “vehemently denies and will vigorously contest these allegations.”

Pamela Chelin contributed reporting.