After over three decades at CBS News, "60 Minutes" executive producer Jeff Fager was abruptly fired on Wednesday for what he said afterward was a single "harsh" text message to a CBS correspondent, a message which CBS has now released.
Fager is the third major figure at CBS to lose his job in the past year over misconduct allegations, following news anchor Charlie Rose last November and CBS Corp. But Moonves wasn't the only CBS honcho named in the second report, and the spotlight was placed firmly on Fager once Moonves was shown the door.
Fager, in a statement to CNN, said the text was a demand that "she be fair in covering the story".
Bill Owens will manage the "60 Minutes" team until a new executive producer is hired. The allegations of misconduct will continue to be investigated independently, however.
Later on Wednesday, Duncan revealed she was the reporter in question that Fager sent the text to. "One such note should not result in termination after 36 years, but it did".
It was then noted: 'However, he violated company policy and it is our commitment to uphold those policies at every level'.
After the text was shared on air, others at CBS also said they interpreted it as a threat.
On Sunday, The New Yorker reported that a new accuser said "she "felt compelled to speak because she simply 'can't believe [Fager is] back there.'" The article described her as "a producer who was an intern at CBS" in the early 2000s who said that "he groped her at a work party". Rhodes was then brought in as news president, taking over full management of the news division when Fager went back to exclusively running "60 Minutes".
In response to that allegation, Fager told CBS News, "This is an outrageous claim and it didn't happen".
But Farrow had numerous sources, including six former employees who said that "Fager, while inebriated at company parties, would touch employees in ways that made them uncomfortable".
Nineteen current and former CBS employees have accused Fager of inappropriate touching and allowing harassment to occur at the network, according to The New Yorker. "60 Minutes" is, as Rhodes notes in his memo, "the most significant news broadcast on television", having debuted in 1968 and served as the investigative home for such television inquisitors as Mike Wallace, Morley Safer, Ed Bradley and Lesley Stahl.