Futrell says he supports Duke’s move to rescind Rose’s journalism award

Published 11:17 pm Monday, December 11, 2017

The decision by Duke University to revoke the Futrell Award it presented to Charlie Rose almost two decades ago is backed by the man who established the endowment for the annual award.

Ashley B. “Brownie” Futrell Jr., whose family was involved with the Washington Daily News from 1949 to 2010, said he supports the university’s decision.

At least eight women have accused Rose of sexual harassment. Rose, a North Carolina native, was the host of a PBS show and served as co-host of “CBS This Morning.” Last month, Rose apologized to the women by way of a statement, but he said not all of the allegations are accurate.

Futrell said he was on vacation in Key West, Florida, with his wife when he was contacted by Bill Adair, director of the DeWitt Wallace Center for Media & Democracy, by email, which informed him that Duke “was going to do the due diligence to determine what was the proper way to move on it, and they wanted to make sure I was in the loop and get my feedback.” Futrell responded to that email with an email.

“I sent him an email back, saying that I understood the process and that I would be supportive of whatever Duke determines, basically under two conditions. One, is it was a comprehensive and transparent process that included all the stakeholders, which would be faculty, staff, students, patrons — as long as it was a comprehensive process in terms of the due diligence and receiving feedback,” Futrell said. “Second of all, if there was a strong consensus to either revoke it or to maintain it. If those two things were followed, I would be supportive of whatever position emerged.

Futrell said he was not proactive either in starting the process and did not register a strong opinion regarding revoking the award or not doing that. “I wanted the process to work itself out and for them to keep me informed. That’s what Duke did,” Futrell said.

Eventually, Futrell noted, he received an email from Adair informing him there was a strong consensus to revoke the award.

“After it was announced, I got a final email from him saying the feedback they had received since the announcement had been overwhelmingly supportive,” Futrell said. “Whether I handled it property or not, it’s something I’ll still have to question, but I didn’t initiate it nor did I make a strong statement either way with Duke, other than requesting that it ben an open and transparent process and that nothing be done unless a strong consensus emerged is what I asked for.”

Futrell said the incident saddened him. “I certainly don’t take any joy in this process,” Futrell said.

In a statement posted on the center’s website Monday, Adair wrote: “Today, we are taking the unprecedented step of rescinding our award to Charlie Rose. I have consulted with students, faculty and staff and found an overwhelming consensus that we should take this action and emphasize that the DeWitt Wallace Center does not tolerate sexual harassment in any form. … Rescinding Rose’s Futrell Award is one way we can make clear that this conduct is not acceptable in any way. We do this as much in sadness as anger given his long relationship with the university.”

The Futrell Award for Outstanding Achievement in Communications and Journalism was established in 1999 by Brownie Futrell as a tribute to his father, Ashley B. Futrell Sr., for his contributions to Duke University and the profession of journalism. Before his death in 2005, the elder Futrell was inducted into the North Carolina Journalism Hall of Fame in 1991. He was a former member of the North Carolina Senate.

The award is presented by the DeWitt Wallace Center for Media & Democracy each year to honor Duke graduates doing outstanding work in journalism. The recent decision to rescind Rose’s award is the first time a Futrell Award has been revoked.







About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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