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Charlie Rose might get a new show where he interviews other accused harassers

The rumors of a Charlie Rose redemption show demonstrate how much our culture craves the status quo.

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Constance Grady is a senior correspondent on the Culture team for Vox, where since 2016 she has covered books, publishing, gender, celebrity analysis, and theater.

Just weeks after the Hollywood Reporter published a lengthy article on Charlie Rose’s post-#MeToo life, rumors of a comeback for the former PBS and CBS news anchor are drifting into sight.

According to Page Six, there’s a pitch making the rounds for a new #MeToo atonement series. The proposed show would reportedly star Rose, who would interview some of the other prominent men who lost their jobs after being accused of sexual misconduct last fall, including Matt Lauer and Louis C.K. Tina Brown, the media celebrity who previously edited the New Yorker and Vanity Fair, confirmed to Page Six that she was approached about producing the show but declined to say who was approaching her. (She also says she declined to participate in the show.)

At this point, there’s no reason to believe that this proposed show is anywhere close to reality; it most likely exists only in the form of a pitch. But that a Charlie Rose redemption show is getting pitched to major media figures like Brown suggests there are people in the industry who are willing to test the waters for him. It suggests that there are people behind the scenes who think he’s spent enough time in exile.

Writing for Vox, Laura McGann described exactly what that exile looks like:

Charlie Rose skipped town last year after he was accused of walking around naked or with a bathrobe open in front of his underlings for decades.

Hollywood mogul Barry Diller described his punishment this way: “You get accused, you’re obliterated,” he said in an interview with Maureen Dowd. “Charlie Rose ceases to exist.”

By “ceases to exist,” Diller means that Rose isn’t spending as much time glad-handing in Manhattan restaurants. Instead, he’s retreated to his “sanctuary,” a large house outside New York City, in a town called Bellport on Long Island. He enjoys panoramic views of the water from his house and can see Fire Island in the distance.

James Cury wrote for the Hollywood Reporter that Rose has made “occasional, mostly disastrous forays into Manhattan.”

So here’s a rough timeline: In November, Rose is accused of sexually harassing his female employees. The behavior he’s accused of includes groping, inappropriate touching, and unwanted nudity, dating back to the early 1990s. Shortly afterward, CBS fires him.

Rose retreats to his beach house in Long Island, where, per the Hollywood Reporter, he spends his days reading newspapers, playing tennis, and holding court with his powerful friends (including Brown).

And now, five months after accusations against him broke, he appears to be trying to leverage his notoriety into a new career path. If this #MeToo atonement show were to take off, Rose would essentially be monetizing the accusations against him.

The proposed Charlie Rose show may never come to life. But that it was ever proposed at all is a reminder of how deeply our culture is invested in preserving the status quo.

As a society, we can be so unnerved at the idea that those in power might lose some of their status that we interpret a quiet life on a palatial estate, surrounded by money and powerful friends, as a harrowing exile. We interpret someone getting fired with cause as censorship, and then we rush to develop new platforms on which the unjustly silenced parties can share their stories.

As for the women who were allegedly harassed for decades, who lost their careers because of someone else’s choices, who actually were silenced and did lose power? They aren’t retreating to their lavish beach houses to play tennis. And there aren’t many rumors about new shows getting pitched for them.

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