Jeff Fager, former head of "60 Minutes", was fired for sending a harsh warning via text message to the CBS News journalist who is covering the sexual harassment scandals that have rocked CBS in recent weeks.
Fager was left on Wednesday amid increasing pressure from sexual harassment by many women, as reported by Ronan Farrow in the New Yorker.
CBS News president David Rhodes said Wednesday that Fager was fired for violating company policy. Fager issued a statement referring to the text message sent by correspondent Jericka Duncan after he contacted him for a comment on Sunday, the day when Farrow's last exposure was published.
According to Farrow's report, Fager was accused of trying to grope or inappropriately touched CBS News female staff at corporate events.
Duncan reported on the situation with Fager in the Wednesday edition of "CBS Evening News." He read from Fager's message:
"If you repeat these false accusations without any of your reports supporting them, you will be responsible for hurting me," Fager wrote, according to Duncan. "Be careful, there are people who have lost their jobs trying to hurt me and if they pass these damaging statements without their own reportage to support them, it will become a serious problem."
On Wednesday, Fager issued a statement that defended his actions and denied the accounts in Farrow's report.
"The company's decision had nothing to do with the false accusations printed on the New Yorker, but they terminated my contract early because I sent a text message to one of our CBS reporters, asking her to be honest about covering history, "said Fager. "My language was harsh, and despite the fact that journalists always received harsh demands of fairness, CBS did not like it – one of these notes should not lead to resolution after 36 years, but it did."
The exclusion of Fager comes three days after CBS president-CEO Leslie Moonves was forced to resign under the cloud of sexual harassment and harassment charges detailed by Farrow in the New Yorker.
(In the picture: Jericka Duncan)