Looks Like There's No Men Left At CBS, How Sad
Jeff Fager, the longtime executive producer of "60 Minutes," was fired Wednesday following allegations of sexual harassment and an abusive environment on the news program your grandparents watch. CBS News correspondent Jericka Duncan reached out to Fager on Sunday for comment on Ronan Farrow's New Yorker piece that alleged Fager was a creep who groped and fondled women at company parties like it's 1959. Fager, in response, sent a less-than polite text to Duncan.
"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 replied. "Be careful. There are people who lost their jobs trying to harm me and if you pass on these damaging claims without your own reporting to back them up that will become a serious problem.
Fager was quickly dismissed for violating company policy against texting while psychotic. It's apparently frowned upon at CBS News to threaten to ruin the career of a woman attempting to journalism. The text was also Exhibits A, B, C, and the rest of the damn alphabet that Fager was someone who might possibly encourage the hostile work environment Farrow described in his article: Fager reportedly shielded "bad behavior" of male employees as part of a "frat house" culture. Women at CBS News apparently were mindful to avoid what they called "The Fager Arm," which was not a rundown B&B Fager ran but his lecherous free-range hand that roamed around stroking women's behinds.
Farrow doesn't even start in on Fager until after documenting all of Les Moonves's grossness, so most readers were probably too dehydrated from vomiting to get that far. Fortunately, Duncan must've had a case of Gatorade by her desk to keep up her electrolyte levels and powered through because she's a fucking professional.
The less professional Fager whined that he was treated unfairly for sending one little crazy-ass text, probably while not wearing pants (allegedly).
"The company's decision had nothing to do with the false allegations printed in The New Yorker. Instead, they 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 said. "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."
Look, dude, Duncan doesn't need your dumb ass mansplaining to her how to cover a story. She knows not to print stuff without proof like a common Trump. This ain't her first rodeo. Well, it might be because this really has nothing to do with rodeos. Anyway, the point is that the sister knows what she's doing, more so than Fager, who went nuts on Duncan after Farrow's article even outright states that women were afraid of "reprisal" from the asshole.
Honestly, though, if Fager really believed his text to Duncan was simply "harsh" and not completely inappropriate, that says a lot about the cancer within the network. He doesn't even try to plead "Ambien." At too many companies out there, powerful men are under the delusion that abusive behavior, often directed at woman, is just being "demanding" or "perfectionist." It's bullshit, and it's gonna change.
CBS rightly cutting its losses with Moonves and Fager in quick succession reminds me of when the network ditched its so-called "rural sitcoms" in the early '70s to focus on more upscale programming. But that was a tragedy -- who doesn't love "Green Acres"? -- and this feels like justice long delayed.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."