Embattled former "60 Minutes" head Jeff Fager was sacked for sending a harshly worded text to the CBS News reporter who is covering the sexual harassment scandals that have rocked CBS in recent weeks.
Bill Owens, executive editor at "60 Minutes", will step in to manage the "60 Minutes" team while a search for a replacement is conducted.
CBS Corp (CBS.N) Chief Executive Officer Leslie Moonves resigned on Sunday amid a new wave of allegations against him of sexual assault and harassment uncovered in two New Yorker stories in the past two months.
Fager previously served as chairman of CBS News and became executive producer of 60 Minutes in 2003.
The New Yorker this summer reported allegations that Fager, who had been at CBS News for more than three decades, touched employees inappropriately and enabled a culture of bad behavior inside the organization.
In today's memo, Rhodes wrote that Fager's departure "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", wrote Rhodes. Fager said it was because of a text message he sent to a CBS News reporter who was covering the story about him.
In a statement, Fager said the termination "had nothing to do with" the New Yorker article, saying instead that it was because he sent a text message to a CBS reporter using "harsh language".
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He said he didn't think one note would have resulted in a dismissal after 36 years at the network, "but it did".
"If you repeat these false accusations without any of your own reporting to back them up you will be held responsible for harming me", Fager responded. "I really felt like this was one of the most sexist places I've ever worked".
Steve Kroft, a veteran correspondent on "60 Minutes", told CNN, "Over the years Jeff Fager has done a remarkable job managing '60 Minutes, ' but the text message to Jericka Duncan was threatening and inappropriate".
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".
In November 2017, CBS News dropped Charlie Rose following a Washington Post investigation detailing allegations of unwanted sexual advances toward women.
Farrow also cited "nineteen current and former employees" who said Fager "allowed harassment in the division". "60 Minutes" is one of the most revered programs in television news.