Right before Christmas it was announced that veteran reporter James Rosen was out at Fox News. No explanation was given. After New Years, Rosen tweeted that he hoped to detail his future plans soon. Well, National Public Radio is reporting that Rosen’s departure was hastened due to allegations of sexual harassment:
The network cited no reason for Rosen's exit and did not announce it on the air. According to Rosen's former colleagues, however, he had an established pattern of flirting aggressively with many peers and had made sexual advances toward three female Fox News journalists, including two reporters and a producer. And his departure followed increased scrutiny of his behavior at the network, according to colleagues.
This story is based on interviews with eight of Rosen's former colleagues at the Fox News bureau in Washington, D.C., just a few blocks from the U.S. Capitol. Rosen declined to comment to NPR after it set out in detail what it intended to report.
Current and former Fox News Washington journalists characterize the Washington bureau as retaining something of a Mad Men ethos, with some male reporters frequently sending racy "topline" notes through the network's internal messaging service.
The accusations against Rosen, who is married with young children, are more severe than that. He developed a reputation as a talented and ambitious journalist called "the professor" by former political anchor Brit Hume on the air for his interest in Watergate (Rosen wrote a book focusing on the life of former Attorney General John Mitchell that argued for a kinder re-assessment of his role in that Nixon-era scandal). Rosen has sent such messages, according to his former female co-workers. But in three instances he made overt physical and sexual overtures, according to the accounts of numerous former Fox News colleagues who heard about the incidents contemporaneously.
In the winter following the September 2001 terror attacks, a female Fox News reporter joined the bureau from New York. In a shared cab ride back from a meal, Rosen groped her, grabbing her breast. After she rebuffed his advance, Rosen sought to steal away her sources and stories related to his interests in diplomacy and national security. That's according to four colleagues who say she relayed the episode as a warning about Rosen's behavior. The reporter declined to comment for this story. (NPR has decided not to name the women in this article as they have not granted permission to do so.)
In a subsequent episode several years later, a female producer covering the State Department alleged that Rosen had directly sexually harassed her. A foreign national, she subsequently accepted a deal from Fox that enabled her to extend her stay in the U.S. in exchange for not making her complaint public, according to several of her former colleagues. The producer, who now works for a foreign-based news organization, is abroad with family and did not respond to several detailed messages left by email and phone seeking comment.
I appreciate all the good wishes you have sent to me and I hope to bring you news about my future endeavors soon.— James Rosen (@JamesRosenTV) January 2, 2018
Rosen had been with the network for nearly two decades. He gained increased notoriety when he became a target of the Obama administration in 2013. Rosen reported about North Korea’s nuclear program, which was leaked by a former State Department contractor, who pled guilty to giving Rosen classified information in 2014. The story involved the communist conducting nuclear tests. The Obama administration named Rosen a potential criminal co-defendant in the affidavit. Rosen was being charged for seeking information, which many said was a gross First Amendment violation. The surveillance of Rosen was quite extensive:
According to court documents, two days’ worth of Rosen’s personal e-mails, documents, and attachments stored in a Gmail account were seized as were all his historic emails to a Yahoo account used by the alleged source, State Dept. security adviser Stephen Jin-Woo Kim. The feds obtained authorization to seize information showing Rosen’s communication with “any other source" related to the leak and also demanded Google turn over IP addresses and other metadata stored by the reporter’s Gmail account. In addition, investigators tracked Rosen’s movements to and from the State Department using security badge access records, and the timings of his calls with Jin-Woo Kim were traced.
And now, he’s out due to possible sexual harassment.