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CBS News Releases Text Message That Led To Producer Jeff Fager’s Removal

CBS News has come clean, has learned, releasing the damning text message that led to the firing of 60 Minutes executive producer Jeff Fager.

As reported earlier, Fager, 63, was fired in the wake of a New Yorker story which included a new claim of sexual misconduct alleged against him.

CBS Correspondent Jericka Duncan, who has been reporting the ongoing revelations of widespread harassment by network executives, including the shocking recent ousting of Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Les Moonves, said Fager texted her after she asked him for a comment on the article.

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“If you repeat these false accusations without any of your own reporting to back them up, you will be responsible for harming me. Be careful,” Fager texted back. “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, who had been at the network for 36 years, later said in a statement that CBS had “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.”

“My language was harsh and, despite the fact that journalists receive harsh demands for fairness all the time, CBS did not like it,” Fager added.

But The New Yorker story told a story that revealed Fager “groped” an intern at a work party years ago. And in a July 27 New Yorker story, Fager was accused of ignoring and enabling bad behavior by two high-ranking male producers at 60 Minutes. Anonymous former employees also accused Fager himself of misconduct in the article.

Les Moonves
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In defending the decision, CBS News president David Rhodes praised his news staff.

“We are fortunate to have incredibly talented journalists in place whom we know will continue to deliver our defining investigative work,” Rhodes wrote in a statement. “This action today is not directly related to the allegations surfaced in press reports, which continue to be investigated independently. “However, (Fager) violated company policy and it is our commitment to uphold those policies at every level.”

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