Charlie Rose says women are exploiting #MeToo Movement, files motion to dismiss lawsuit

(CBS News) -- Former "CBS This Morning" anchor Charlie Rose filed a motion just after midnight Friday seeking the dismissal of a sexual harassment lawsuit filed against him by three women.

The lawsuit was filed May 4 by Katherine Brooks Harris, Sydney McNeal and Yuqing Wei, who were all hired either by CBS News or for Rose's PBS show when they were in their early 20s. The women claimed they endured "predatory behavior" from Rose. The lawsuit accuses Rose of "blatant and repeated sexual harassment," including asking about the women's sex lives, and discussion of his own.

The lawsuit followed a Washington Post report in which 27 women accused Rose of sexual harassment.

In Rose's motion to dismiss, he says the women suing him are "exploiting the #MeToo Movement" and "bootstrapping the accusations of sexual harassment made by third parties against Rose in articles published by The Washington Post."

"None of the three plaintiffs alleges a cognizable claim of gender discrimination, harassment or retaliation," the motion says. 

According to the lawsuit in May, Harris started working as a broadcast associate for "CBS This Morning" in January 2016 but Rose later offered her a job at his PBS show, saying in a letter "I want you to be at the center of my professional world," and "You help me get through the day." 

Wei joined "CBS This Morning" as a news associate in September 2015. McNeal worked for Rose as an executive assistant, beginning in April 2017, according to the lawsuit. 

The women accuse Rose of "without limitation caressing and touching their arms, shoulders, waist and back, pulling them close to his body, and kissing them on the cheek."

CBS filed a motion on Aug. 31 seeking a dismissal of its standing in the lawsuit. In its motion, CBS says Harris was working for the Charlie Rose show at the time of the harassment and was not a CBS employee. It argues McNeal had never been a CBS employee. The judge has yet to decide on CBS' motion. 

Rose was fired from "CBS This Morning" in November 2017 and his PBS show was canceled. His attorney could not immediately be reached for comment Friday. When allegations first surfaced against Rose he apologized for "inappropriate behavior," but claimed some allegations were inaccurate.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.

The board of directors for the CBS Corporation hired two law firms in August to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct at the company, including claims against CEO Leslie Moonves.

CBS News reported Thursday that CBS Corporation and its controlling shareholder, National Amusements, are in discussions to end a legal dispute that would include removing Moonves as chairman and CEO. The discussions include a $100 million exit package for Moonves.

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