Gayle King to Stephen Colbert: Your Charlie Rose Jokes Made Me ‘Wince’

The ‘CBS This Morning’ co-host told Stephen Colbert that the ‘anguish’ of women trumps her friendship with Charlie Rose.

Scott Kowalchyk/CBS

On Monday night’s Late Show, Sen. Elizabeth Warren reckoned with sexual harassment allegations against her Democratic colleague Al Franken. On Tuesday, it was Gayle King’s turn to address her ousted CBS This Morning co-host, Charlie Rose.

And after getting “an hour and 42 minutes of sleep last night,” as she said on her show Tuesday morning, King deserves credit for not canceling on Stephen Colbert given everything that has transpired since the news about Rose’s alleged history of sexual misconduct broke.

“I came this close to canceling,” King told Colbert. Noting that the appearance was booked weeks ago, she said she had planned to talk about “Oprah’s Favorite Things.” But first they had to get to some more important things.

King and co-host Norah O’Donnell had spoken openly and honestly about Rose’s behavior on CBS This Morning earlier in the day. “I have to say, Norah, I really am still reeling,” said King, who said the accounts of eight women in The Washington Post’s initial report came as a total shock to her.

“What do you say when someone that you deeply care about has done something that is so horrible? How do you wrap your brain around that? I’m really grappling with that,” King added. “That said, Charlie does not get a pass here.”

Colbert commended King and O’Donnell for covering the revelations about Rose “as news, objectively and fully.”

“That’s what you have to do,” King said. When Colbert said it “couldn’t have been easy,” she replied, “To be honest with you, it still isn’t easy. It’s still very painful, it’s still very hurtful.”

“When you think about the anguish of those women, despite the friendship, you still have to report the news,” King continued. At the same time, she told Colbert she was “wincing” at his monologue jokes about Rose.

“Well, you did your job this morning,” the host replied. “I did my job tonight.”

“Eight women have accused Charlie Rose of sexually harassing them with nudity, groping, and lewd calls,” Colbert said at the top of his monologue Tuesday night. “His show was dropped by PBS, and CBS fired him, because these allegations are disturbing and strange. On the milder side of the spectrum, Rose frequently gave unsolicited shoulder rubs to several young female associates, behavior referred to among employees as ‘The Crusty Paw.’

“You may make three wishes upon the accursed paw, all of which are to not get a back rub from Charlie Rose,” he joked.

And noting the detail that Rose made one woman watch a DVD of his PBS show before allegedly propositioning her, Colbert asked, “Who doesn’t get aroused by an hour-long interview with Thomas Friedman?”