Meredith Vieira: ‘There was sexism’ at ’60 Minutes’

Meredith Vieira on Monday alluded to her time at CBS news magazine “60 Minutes” nearly 30 years ago and the sexism she endured there, but declined to speak directly to allegations of sexual misconduct against CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves.

“I think there was sexism for sure,” said Vieira — whose time at CBS came years before Moonves joined the network. “I never was harassed, per se. But it was difficult during the time that I was, particularly at that show, to navigate your way as a woman who wasn’t following the party line. But I certainly never experienced anything bordering on harassment anywhere I’ve been. Maybe they’re scared of me.”

Vieira left “60 Minutes” in 1991, fired from her position as a part-time correspondent. She had resisted a move to full-time status shortly after giving birth to her son. Her remarks came at the the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour Monday, where she was on hand to promote “The Great American Read” for PBS.

On Friday, the New Yorker published a story by reporter Ronan Farrow detailing claims by six women against Moonves of sexual misconduct. The alleged incidents spanned several decades, with the earliest of them reported to have taken place in during Moonves’ early days as a television exec at Fox. Among the claims in the New Yorker story is an accusation by actress and writer Illeana Douglas, who described a meeting with Moonves in which he held her down on a couch and kissed her without her consent. The story also described a culture at CBS permissive of sexual misconduct, particularly in the CBS News division.

The New Yorker piece identified former CBS News chairman and current “60 Minutes” executive producer Jeff Fager as allowing a culture of sexual harassment to flourish within the news division. Fager was a producer on “60 Minutes” from 1990 to 1994, overlapping with Vieira.

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