Longtime 60 Minutes executive producer Jeff Fager is departing CBS, the network announced on Wednesday, September 12.
“Jeff Fager is leaving the company, effective immediately,” CBS News president David Rhodes wrote in a note to staffers, adding that 60 Minutes executive editor Bill Owens will manage the team until a replacement is found.
Rhodes clarified in his memo that Fager’s exit 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.”
CBS did not specify which policy the veteran producer, 63, had violated. However, he said in a statement to CNN that the network “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.”
“My language was harsh and, despite the fact that journalists receive harsh demands for fairness all the time, CBS did not like it,” he added. “One such note should not result in termination after 36 years, but it did.”
A report published by The New Yorker in July claimed that Fager sexually harassed fellow employees at company parties and once made a drunken advance toward a junior staff member. The story also alleged that Fager protected other men at the network who had been accused of misconduct. In August, The Washington Post reported similar allegations against Fager, which he vehemently denied.
The news of the producer’s ouster comes four days after CBS chairman and CEO Les Moonves left the network. A total of 12 women accused Moonves, 68, of sexual harassment and intimidation in exposés published by The New Yorker in July and September. He said in a statement that the “untrue allegations from decades ago … are not consistent with who I am.”
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