CBS fires ’60 Minutes’ chief Jeff Fager amid misconduct allegations

Bessie Dean
September 13, 2018

Jeff Fager has been relieved of his duties as executive producer of "60 Minutes", according to a memo issued on Wednesday afternoon by David Rhodes, the president of CBS News.

In the world of journalism, this is big news. He was appointed in 2004 to succeed founding executive Don Hewitt. Rhodes was then brought in as news president, taking over full management of the news division when Fager went back to exclusively running "60 Minutes". "His magic is in the screening room, as was Don Hewitt's", says a "60 Minutes" staffer who declined to be named. Often, if he would catch me in the parking lot, he would make sure to tell me that my script was one of the best he'd read but that he had decided, in the end, not to do it.

The decision comes after investigative reporter Ronan Farrow reported in The New Yorker on Sunday that former CBS intern Sarah Johansen accused Fager of touching her inappropriately in the 2000s.

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Both Farrow and the Erik Wemple Blog have reported allegations about Fager. One former female senior producer told Farrow that Fager promoted another senior producer who had been physically abusive toward her, twisting her arm behind her back, and advised her to not go to human resources with her concerns.

60 Minutes executive editor Bill Owens will manage the show until Fager's replacement is found, Rhodes said, adding, "This action today is not directly related to the allegations surfaced in press reports, which continue to be investigated independently. Joe Ianniello is in full support of this decision and the transition to come".

Fager denied the allegations in August, telling The New Yorker "they never happened", while saying his accusers were "using an important movement as a weapon", apparently referencing the #MeToo movement. Fager said it was because of a text message he sent to a CBS News reporter who was covering the story about him. He acknowledged that his language in the text was "harsh", but said that "although journalists received harsh demands for fairness all the time, CBS didn't like it". "One such note should not result in termination after 36 years, but it did", he said.

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