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Bloomberg joins Charlie Rose in new harassment lawsuit

Matthew McNulty

Disgraced former CBS News anchor Charlie Rose is facing more legal troubles -- less than a year after the media giant settled three sexual harassment claims against him.

Rose’s longtime makeup artist, Gina Riggi, accused the newsman of “a pattern of misogynistic, abusive behavior, demeaning, embarrassing and degrading her because of her gender,” after 22 years of working for the one-time late-night talk show host.

The new suit claims that Rose “created a toxic work environment suffused with sexual harassment and gender-based abuse for Ms. Riggi and the female staff" where he used the "Charlie Rose" show  -- which aired on Bloomberg and PBS -- "as an instrument of his predatory sexual behavior, and the Bloomberg studio where he recorded it as a sexual hunting ground.” Riggi also filed her claims against Bloomberg in her detailed 27-page court filing on Friday.

The suit also stated that Rose, “preyed upon his female staff, at Bloomberg’s studio, at his Sherry-Netherland apartment, at his Hamptons home in Bellport, New York, and at the trendy restaurants where he insisted on hosting staff events.”

The 77-year-old North Carolina native has been hit with allegations from more than 30 women over the last several years, which led to his eventual ousting from CBS News and its morning news show in Nov. 2017. His lawyer, Jonathan Bach of Shapiro Arato Bach, told Deadline that “Mr. Rose vehemently denies and will vigorously contest these (most recent) allegations.”

“Among other things, the allegations in the complaint are completely inconsistent with written statements made by the plaintiff to Mr. Rose, including ‘I love working for you at your show, and would love to be part of any show that you host,’ ‘I consider it an honor to be a member of your team,’ and ‘hope to see you more often! Please stop by anytime’ “, Bach said revealing texts Rose allegedly received from the plaintiff between 2010 and 2012.

Riggi said she added Bloomberg to the complaint because the media and financial information company ignored Rose's increasingly inappropriate behavior.

“Bloomberg supervisors personally observed Mr. Rose’s behavior on countless occasions, and received numerous complaints from female staff about Mr. Rose over the years,” Riggi claims in the complaint, adding that Bloomberg considered her an independent contractor and not a full-time employee. “In some instances, Bloomberg supervisors experienced the harassment themselves. Despite substantial notice of Mr. Rose’s behavior for many years, Bloomberg refused to address or remediate it, dismissing it, in words or effect, as ‘Just Charlie being Charlie.'”

Rose was fired from CBS and had his interview show "Charlie Rose" canceled by PBS just a day after the first sexual harassment claims against him in 2017. After Rose’s show was canceled, Riggi alleges she was let go from Bloomberg  -- which still features videos of interviews Rose conducted with the likes of musician Macklemore and actor Harrison Ford on its web site -- without severance or other unemployment benefits because she had been classified as an independent contractor. She is seeking damages and equitable relief for the harm she claims she endured emotionally and financially working for Rose.

“At no time was the plaintiff an employee of ours,” said Bloomberg spokesman Ty Trippet on Friday of Riggi’s filing and claims. “We understand that the plaintiff was a contractor of Charlie Rose Inc., and given that they operated independently of us, any of her compensation would have been handled solely by Charlie Rose Inc.”

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