Ousted ‘60 Minutes’ chief told CBS reporter: ‘There are people who've lost their jobs trying to harm me’

Ousted ‘60 Minutes’ chief told CBS reporter: ‘There are people who've lost their jobs trying to harm me’
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Jeff Fager, who was removed from his post as "60 Minutes" executive producer on Wednesday, sent a text to a CBS News reporter warning her that she could face a "serious problem" if she reported sexual misconduct allegations made against him.

CBS News reported Wednesday that correspondent Jericka Duncan reached out to Fager on Sunday seeking his response to allegations made in a New Yorker story published earlier that day detailing allegations of him touching CBS employees inappropriately.

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"If you repeat these false accusations without any of your own reporting to back them up you will be held responsible for harming me," Fager responded. "Be careful. There are people who lost their jobs trying to harm me and if you pass on these damaging claims without your own reporting to back them up that will become a serious problem."

Duncan tweeted later Wednesday that the text message was sent to her.

"Many people have asked if the text Jeff Fager referenced was to me. It was. I’ll have more reporting on this tonight," she tweeted.

CBS News on Wednesday announced that Fager would be leaving the company “effective immediately” amid allegations of inappropriate behavior.

In a statement, Fager said the termination "had nothing to do with" the New Yorker article, saying instead that it was because he sent a text message to a CBS reporter using “harsh language.” 

“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,” he said. “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.”

Nineteen current and former CBS employees have accused Fager of inappropriate touching and allowing harassment to occur at the network, according to The New Yorker.

CBS launched an investigation into Fager over the summer. In August, he denied the allegations, telling The New Yorker that his accusers were “using an important movement as a weapon,” apparently referencing the "Me Too" movement.

CBS CEO Les Moonves also stepped down earlier this week amid sexual misconduct allegations. A New Yorker article published in August implicated Moonves and Fager in a series of such allegations.