Jeff Fager, the veteran executive producer of "60 Minutes", was sacked on Wednesday amid accusations of inappropriate conduct at the acclaimed newsmagazine.
Rhodes said Fager's ouster was "not directly related to the allegations surfaced in press reports, which continue to be investigated independently".
"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 told Duncan in the text. "However, he violated company policy and it is our commitment to uphold those policies at every level".
Bloodworth Thomason doesn't mention the incident or the actress again, but the claim reinforces the sexual misconduct allegations Moonves is now facing and the pattern of behavior suggested in Ronan Farrow's New Yorker pieces. He also introduced "CBS This Morning" in January 2012.
Fager previously served as chairman of CBS News and became executive producer of 60 Minutes in 2003.
Fager, in a statement to CNN, said the text was a demand that "she be fair in covering the story". Why not roll this violation into the investigations of management practices being conducted by two prominent law firms?
"Over the years, even when an actress managed to get one of my scripts through an agent, the deal would immediately be killed".
Duncan said she reached out to Fager on Sunday, after a New Yorker story detailed an allegation against him in which a woman said he groped her at a party. The article said 19 current and former employees said Fager enabled a culture that "shielded bad behavior".
Rhodes' action against Fager also exacerbated the longstanding tensions between "60 Minutes" and the rest of the news division.
CBS has figured prominently in coverage of sexual harassment in the workplace. CBS News said the company will begin a search for a new executive producer of the program.
If you ever watched CBS between 1975 and 1995, the name Linda Bloodworth Thomason should be familiar.
The writer-producer ends her editorial by channeling Julia Sugarbaker, the fierce Southern feminist played by Dixie Carter in Designing Women, and giving Moonves a profane three-word send-off. However, Moonves wasn't the only CBS honcho named and the spotlight was placed on Fager after Moonves' exit.
Incidentally, Linda Bloodworth-Thomason is now developing a Designing Women reboot, but this time she won't have to worry about Les Moonves blocking it no matter what network she pitches it to. In November, the company fired longtime TV personality Charlie Rose over allegations of harassment.
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