No sooner did the revelations about award-winning journalist Charlie Rose’s long history of flagrant and habitual sexual misconduct with female employees come to light than he issued a carefully crafted 160-word apology, posted in full on his Twitter account:
“In my 45 years of journalism, I have prided myself on being an advocate for the careers of the women with whom I have worked. Nevertheless, in the past few days, claims have been made about my behavior toward some former female colleagues.
It is essential that these women know I hear them and that I deeply apologize for my inappropriate behavior. I am greatly embarrassed. I have behaved insensitively at times, and I accept responsibility for that, though I do not believe that all of these allegations are accurate. I always felt that I was pursuing shared feelings, even though I now realize I was mistaken.
I have learned a great deal as a result of these events, and I hope others will too. All of us, including me, are coming to a newer and deeper recognition of the pain caused by conduct in the past, and have come to a profound new respect for women and their lives.”
Count the “I’s;” there are 13. It’s a bad-luck number and critics were quick to pounce on the statement being far more about Rose than the harm he caused, and who he hurt.
By the time Rose posted it, he’d already been suspended by CBS (he’s since been fired by CBS) and told that his eponymous PBS show was canceled. In the wake of his fall from a level of grace afforded a rare few these days, journalists and psychologists commenced with a word-by-word analysis of his attempted apology. The consensus? It fell woefully short. Seeming more self-serving than self-aware, it only added insult to injury.
The thousands of Twitter comments Rose’s words elicited revealed its broader impact, which was deeply divided, at best.
Surgeon David Gorski called Rose out for his “notpology,” insisting that he should have “sought to make amends to his victims BEFORE he was exposed.” Gorski’s position was widely echoed, but so was a genuine sense of sorrow and disillusionment, compassion and support, and visceral anger over the vast culture of hypocrisy in corporate America and its epidemic of “pigs masquerading as men.”
PBS quickly canceled the iconic Charlie Rose Show and fired the 75-year-old broadcaster. We’re all bracing for the next sexual misconduct takedown, and the next after that. The courageous #MeToo movement has only just begun, and men are feeling the sea change.
“It’s crazy out here. You have to watch what you say and what you do,” said Tony Shellman, vice president of marketing at rapper T.I.’s Akoo Apparel. “The culture was the culture in the ‘90s, don’t get it twisted. It’s different today because everybody’s a photographer, everybody’s a reporter, everybody’s taping and posting content. That checks people.”
What does Shellman think about the running ticker tape of men now being exposed? “It’s great,” he says. “That checks the culture itself.”