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.
CBS News president David Rhodes confirmed part of this as well in his memo, writing: 'This action today is not directly related to the allegations surfaced in press reports, which continue to be investigated independently'.
Fager responded to Duncan's request for comment, a journalistic standard, with an angry response telling the reporter she would be "held responsible for harming me" if she repeated the allegations without her own reporting on the subject.
CBS correspondent Jericka Duncan spoke out Wednesday night about a text message exchange she had with "60 Minutes" executive producer Jeff Fager over the weekend that pushed Fager out of the company.
At a tense "60 Minutes" meeting on Wednesday with Rhodes, staffers insisted on an explanation of just how Fager had so violated company policy as to warrant summary dismissal.
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Fager's termination comes after former CBS CEO Les Moonves resigned on Sunday.
After the text was shared on air, others at CBS also said they interpreted it as a threat. Its chief executive officer, Leslie Moonves, was forced out last weekend after the New Yorker reported that more women had come forward alleging they were assaulted by the executive.
Fager said in a statement that he was sacked because of the text message.
Fager's second in command at "60 Minutes", Bill Owens, will run the show while a search is conducted for a permanent replacement, Rhodes said.
Fager was let go Wednesday amid growing pressure from sexual harassment allegations from multiple women as reporter by Ronan Farrow in the New Yorker.
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"He showed up at the first table read and took a chair directly across from mine (actress Illeana Douglas, who later accused him of sexual harassment, sat next to me)".
But Fager has said that women have made significant advances at the broadcast, to the point where a majority its producers and associate producers are now women.
Moonves stepped down as chairman and CEO of CBS that day, but the board is still waiting for its internal probe to wrap up before deciding if he can be fired for cause and denied a payout. He became executive producer at 60 Minutes in 2003.
But when the LA Times followed up with a report that TV executive Phyllis Golden-Gottlieb had gone to cops past year, accusing Moonves of sexual and physical assault when they worked together in the 1980s - he admitted to the directors that he'd known about the police report but didn't tell the company because it was a "personal matter", the Times reports.
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