Jeff Fager, the former chairman of CBS News and executive producer of 60 Minutes, is leaving CBS News “immediately,” according to a memo from CBS News President David Rhodes. “Bill Owens will manage the 60 Minutes team as Ingrid Ciprian-Matthews and I begin the search for a new executive producer of the program,” he said. The memo stated that Fager’s exit was “not directly related to the allegations surfaced in press reports” but noted that Fager “violated company policy[.]” A New Yorker story by Ronan Farrow alleged that Fager ignored sexual harassment at the network, and several women accused the producer of unwanted touching. In a statement, Fager said that his exit has “nothing to do with the false allegations printed in The New Yorker,” and said his contract was terminated because he “sent a text message” to a CBS reporter “demanding that she be fair in covering the story. My language was harsh and... CBS did not like it. One such note should not result in termination after 36 years, but it did.”
CBS News National Correspondent Jerika Duncan told CBS Evening News that she was the recipient of Fager's texts, and he told her to “be careful” in her reporting about his sexual misconduct allegations. “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 reportedly wrote. Quinnipiac University also rescinded the Fred Friendly First Amendment Award it awarded to Fager in June.