Charlie Rose's Co-Host Gayle King Reacts to His Firing

Mere hours after Charlie Rose was fired from CBS This Morning following eight sexual harassment claims, Gayle King appeared on The Late Show Tuesday night and discussed her reaction to the "stunning" firing of her and Norah O'Donnell's co-host.

At first, the 62-year-old told Stephen Colbert that she considered canceling her appearance on his late-night show, but ultimately decided to go through with it in order to show that CBS is a "top-notch news organization."

Colbert praised her and O'Donnell for "objectively and fully" covering the allegations against Rose.

"But that's what you have to do," King said. "To be honest with you, it isn't easy. It's still very painful. It's still very hurtful. Charlie and I — we worked together, have been friends. But when you think about the anguish of those women, despite the friendship, you still have to report the news. When I think of the job that we do at CBS, that's why I wanted to cancel, because I didn't want to be sitting here talking about this. But when you think about the job we do at CBS and how hard the people work, I want to know we are a top-notch broadcast operation. That's why I thought it was important to be here."

Still, King confessed, "I was wincing at your monologue."

"You did your job this morning, and I did mine tonight," Colbert said. "We have different jobs."

King admitted that it's still "difficult" to hear horrible things about Rose and his alleged behavior. "[But] I think about what these women were going through," she said. "I don't like that, either."

Colbert noted that some viewers thought O'Donnell sounded angry while she and King were discussing the allegations against Rose Tuesday morning, and asked if King was angry too.

"I'm a variety of emotions. There's certainly some anger, there's sadness, there's compassion, there's concern," she said.

"You can hold a variety of emotions around one particular incident, one particular person. So, I can't really say I'm one thing. I'll tell you, what I am is raw. We had a company meeting this afternoon; everybody gathered in the conference room," she said. "I think somebody even used the words, 'I just feel raw. I just feel numb.' We're all sort of reeling about what's happened."

King says the allegations against Rose seemingly came out of nowhere.

"It's a stunning thing that's happened in the last 24 hours. Monday, your world is one way, and in 24 hours, Charlie has been suspended and then he has been fired. Charlie Rose, who is an icon in this country! I'm still wrapping my brain around that. But, again, I go back to what these women are going through, and I applaud them for speaking up," she said. "If anything changes in this, what I do hope is that people will speak up, that companies will send a message: 'We have zero tolerance for this kind of behavior.' That is a very important thing."

Colbert asked if she thought the recent string of sexual assault, harassment and misconduct allegations would eventually fade away.

"I don't think it's going to go back into the shadows, Stephen, because women feel empowered to speak up. Women are no longer afraid to speak up. But the best part about it is they are now being believed. They are now being believed! That's big! That's big! They are now being believed. But it has to be more than just a bunch of women talking about this issue. We really do need men to join this conversation. Nothing is going to change until men join the conversation, too, and more women are in places of power," she argued. "That, also, is something I think will change."

On Monday, The Washington Post published a report that detailed allegations against Rose of sexual coercion and harassment from eight different women who worked or aspired to work on Rose’s eponymous nighttime talk show.

Rose issued an apology on Monday but also maintained that some of the allegations were inaccurate.

"It is essential that these women know I hear them and that I deeply apologize for my inappropriate behavior," Rose said in a statement on Monday. "I am greatly embarrassed. I have behaved insensitively at times, and I accept responsibility for that, though I do not believe that all of these allegations are accurate. I always felt that I was pursuing shared feelings, even though I now realize I was mistaken."


Tuesday afternoon, CBS announced that it had terminated Rose, and PBS announced that it had canceled his talk show, Charlie Rose.

Photo Credit: Getty / CBS