“60 Minutes” executive producer Jeff Fager has abruptly exited CBS after decades with the company, with CBS News President David Rhodes telling staffers in a memo today that Fager “is leaving the company effective immediately.”
“Rhodes said that Fager’s longtime No. 2, Bill Owens, will manage the ’60 Minutes’ team while a search is under way ‘for a new executive producer of the program,'” CNN reports. “Rhodes said in his memo that ‘this action today is not directly related to the allegations surfaced in press reports, which continue to be investigated independently. However, he violated company policy and it is our commitment to uphold those policies at every level.'”
CNN notes that CBS News declined to elaborate on which “company policy” Fager violated. Allegations of sexual impropriety have swirled around Fager since Ronan Farrow reported them in The New Yorker several weeks ago, with Fager steadfastly denying the allegations.
CNN quotes a statement from Fager in which he says CBS “terminated my contract early because I sent a text message to one of our own CBS reporters demanding that she be fair in covering the story.”
Fager’s statement adds: “My language was harsh and, despite the fact that journalists receive harsh demands for fairness all the time, CBS did not like it. One such note should not result in termination after 36 years, but it did.”
Among the allegations reported in Farrow’s story, he cited six former employees who said that “Fager, while inebriated at company parties, would touch employees in ways that made them uncomfortable.”
Additionally, Farrow reported that “nineteen current and former employees” alleged Fager “allowed harassment in the division.”