During its evening broadcast on Wednesday, CBS News revealed the text messages that led to the firing of longtime 60 Minutes executive producer Jeff Fager.
“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 texted CBS News correspondent Jericka Duncan, who read them aloud on air in a display of “transparency” on Wednesday evening. “Be careful,” he added. “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.”
Duncan reached out to Fager for comment after new sexual misconduct allegations against him emerged in Ronan Farrow’s most recent story that led to the resignation for CBS CEO Les Moonves. Ultimately, it was Fager’s response, and not those allegations, that led him to lose his job according to CBS News President David Rhodes.
In a statement earlier in the day, Fager said that “the company’s decision had nothing to do with the false allegations printed in The New Yorker.”
“Instead, they 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,” Fager added. “My language was harsh and, despite the fact that journalists receive harsh demands for fairness all the time, CBS did not like it. One such note should not result in termination after 36 years, but it did.”
After Duncan finished reading the texts, anchor Jeff Glor affirmed to her that Fager’s message was “unacceptable” and that the entire Evening News team supports her “100 percent.”