Jeff Fager, executive producer of “60 Minutes,” is leaving CBS immediately because he violated company policy, the broadcaster announced Wednesday.
The company said the departure of the former chairman of CBS News was “not directly related” to an investigation into alleged sexual harassment. However, CBS found he violated company policy, but did not disclose what the incident or incidents were.
The news follows the high-profile departure of CEO Les Moonves, who was accused of sexual harassment by at least 12 women. The New Yorker reported several accounts from women who accused Moonves of sexual misconduct. Nineteen current and former employees also alleged Fager allowed the culture of harassment in his division, inappropriately touched employees and made lewd comments. Fager denied the accounts.
Bill Owens was named as interim manager of “60 Minutes.”
“The company’s decision had nothing to do with the false allegations printed in The New Yorker,” Fager said in a statement. “Instead, they 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. One such note should not result in termination after 36 years, but it did.”
Read a note to CBS employees below:
Jeff Fager is leaving the company effective immediately. Bill Owens will manage the 60 Minutes team as Ingrid Ciprian-Matthews and I begin the search for a new executive producer of the program. 60 Minutes is the most significant news broadcast on television. We are fortunate to have incredibly talented journalists in place whom we know will continue to deliver our defining investigative work.
This action today is not directly related to the allegations surfaced in press reports, which continue to be investigated independently. However, he violated company policy and it is our commitment to uphold those policies at every level. Joe Ianniello is in full support of this decision and the transition to come.