It’s been an inspiring year for the men we cancelled at the mountaintop of #MeToo back in 2017: Louis C.K. just won a Grammy, Bill Cosby was released from prison, and now, disgraced journalist Charlie Rose is attempting a triumphant return with a new interview series.
Four years after being fired from CBS in response to a slew of sexual harassment allegations, Rose self-published a lengthy interview with Berkshire Hathaway billionaire, Warren Buffett.
“I’m proud to share this recent conversation with Warren Buffett,” Rose writes on the website. “It is his first interview on camera in almost a year and the first I’ve done in more than four years. It is a step in a journey to engage the most interesting people and explore the most compelling ideas in the world.”
Buffett, the fifth-wealthiest person in the world, could certainly be called a lot of things, but “interesting” is an awfully generous choice.
A quick Rose recap: As of 2018, 17 women accused him of sexual harassment that included groping or unwelcomed advances, he allegedly walked around naked in front of colleagues who were required to work at one of his New York homes, and he made his intern watch a sex scene from Secretary, a movie about an assistant in a sadomasochistic relationship with her boss.
Rose’s selection for his coming-out-of-cancellation-party interview, considering the above, is a bold pick. In the same year Rose was cancelled, Buffett, who owns significant shares in Apple, Bank of America, Coca-Cola, American Express, and Kraft Heinz, talked about Heinz Kraft attempting to take over Unilever on CNBC, likening it to a woman rebuffing sexual advances: “If a lady says no, she means maybe. And if she says maybe, she means yes. And if she says yes, she’s no lady.”
Of course, it wasn’t the first time Buffett used sex or women as a metaphor in business dealings. Years earlier, he compared failed acquisitions to “ugly” women, writing, “A line from Bobby Bare’s country song explains what too often happens with acquisitions: ‘I’ve never gone to bed with an ugly woman, but I’ve sure woke up with a few.’”
Buffet has long been accused of monopoly power, taking advantage of tax loopholes and accumulating obscene wealth simply by scooping up shares in corporations that range from Coca-Cola to Amazon. In the interview with Rose, he also praised Elon Musk, saying: “He’s got an idea and he’s winning. That’s America. You can’t dream it up. It’s astounding.”
I’d counter that what’s truly astounding is that deeply problematic men, as we’ve repeatedly seen in the last year alone, have a real knack not just of racking up money despite their range of offenses, but of finding each other and becoming buddies—after they’ve spent roughly five minutes atoning in the shelter of their mansions.
Throughout the hour and 14-minute interview, neither Rose nor Buffett acknowledged the other’s questionable pasts, and hey, why would they? A bromance for the ages!