Gina Riggi, 62, is a professional makeup artist who filed a lawsuit against CBS and PBS host Charlie Rose on Friday alleging that he sexually harassed her.
The Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit alleges that Rose would regularly verbally abuse her and humiliate her in front of other staff members. It also details physical abuse including one incident where she allegedly was forced to use a hand mirror to defend herself.
“On one occasion, while taping on location outside of the studio, Mr. Rose became upset while Ms. Riggi applied his makeup, and forcefully grabbed and twisted her arm, physically hurting her,” the court documents say.
The court documents also allege that “Mr. Rose also routinely ridiculed Ms. Riggi’s physical appearance, in particular, making derisive and inappropriate comments about her weight,” and he would do this in front of other employees, “publicly shaming and humiliating her,” at the Bloomberg studio where the show was filmed.
Riggi worked with Rose for 22 years while he starting in 1995 on the “Charlie Rose Show” and then later at PBS’ “Charlie Rose: The Week”. During that time, Riggi claims she saw rose use the Bloomberg studio as his own personal “sexual hunting ground”, regularly getting “handsy” with female staffers who would seek refuge in her makeup room.
Riggi also heard complaints and stories from several women concerning Rose’s behavior. “Mr. Rose’s sexual overtures; his unwanted touching; his inappropriate comments; his phone calls at all hours of the night; often asking invasive and inappropriate questions about their personal lives; and his verbal and emotional abuse,” the court papers say.
Riggi also alleges that in 2004 one of Rose’s assistants told her that the anchor had given her his car, credit card and rented her an apartment in Hoboken “in return as a quid pro quo, Mr. Rose asked her to have sex with him and give him massages.”
Gina Riggi has been a professional makeup artist for over 25 years. In addition to working with Charlie Rose she’s also worked on “Saturday Night Live” and sports shows including “NFL Official Review” and “MSG Vault”.
Here’s what you need to Know:
1. Charlie Rose’s Lawyer Claims She Said She “Loved” Working for Him
Rose’s lawyer, Jonathan Bach, has vehemently denied any wrongdoing in the lawsuit, saying in a statement, “Mr. Rose vehemently denies and will vigorously contest these allegations. Among other things, the allegations in the complaint are completely inconsistent with written statements made by the plaintiff to Mr. Rose.”
Bach also claimed that Raggi said to Charlie at one point that “I love working for you at your show, and would love to be part of any show that you host”, “I consider it an honor to be a member of your team” and “hope to see you more often! Please stop by anytime :).”
2. She Was Nominated for a Daytime Emmy
Riggi was nominated for a daytime Emmy in 1999 for her work on the Sally Jessy Raphael Show. She was nominated with her co-worker and fellow makeup artist Richard Penna. They ended up losing to Anna Lujan, Chanty LaGrana, Keith Crary for their work on the show Leeza.
She later became a Blue Ribbon Judge for the Daytime Emmy Awards where she has voted on the awards for the past 16 years.
3. She’s a Political Activist on Social Media
Gina Riggi’s social media accounts are mostly filled with anti-Donald Trump retweets and memes. Her Facebook banner says “impeachment now”.
Her most recent retweet on September 16 reads “Does Saudi Arabia share custody of Trump with Russia 50-50 or do they just get weekends?” and the one before that says “Yes, I recall seeing this presentation on TV news. Didn’t trump do a little bow/curtsy when the King put the medal around his neck! ?. I was stunned to see an American “president” bow to the king of a country whose citizens had committed the most abhorrent crime on US soil!?”
Riggi rarely tweets herself and mostly uses Twitter for political activism to support Elizabeth Warren for president along with environmental causes.
She does post her opinions on Facebook. On September 15 she wrote “IMO, Public Official 45 trying to scare people by encouraging Public Official Kavanaugh to sue people who speak up about him!! Public Officials are held to a higher standard by the law. SHAME ON TRUMP!”
She’s also a passionate supporter of Elizabeth Warren’s plan to increase corporate taxes and taxes for the wealthiest Americans. Riggi posted several articles on Amazon paying $0 in Federal taxes and wrote on September 16 “Amazon will pay $0 in federal taxes this year — and it’s partially thanks to Trump. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, founder of space venture Blue Origin and owner of The Washington Post, participates in an event hosted by the Air Force Association September 19, 2018 in National Harbor, Maryland”
4. She’s Worked with Several Prominent Celebrities
Riggi’s has worked with a “who’s who” list of celebrities throughout her makeup career. Her list of clients includes Angelina Jolie, Leonardo DiCaprio, Bernie Mac, Jim Carrey, Jon Stewart, and David Blaine. Her work on the Carlie Rose Show had her doing makeup for several presidents and foreign leaders including Barack Obama, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Russia’s Mikhail Gorbachev and Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
5. She Gives Makeup Seminars
Riggi is extremely active in the professional makeup community, regularly attending events and volunteering her time to help teach others.
According to her website, she was the featured guest at a “Healthy Makeup Alternatives for HD & 3D TV” in New York where she gave advice and answered questions from attendees.
She’s a prominent member of NATAS New Media High Definition Committee and the Activities Committee which brings “new technology, industry experts and Academy members together for various events and seminars.” She was featured in several events including a “Midmorning Exchange” in 2015 where she spoke on makeup in the internet age and a “Midday Exchange” in 2018 where she educated guests on “Star makeup tips and the perfect red lips”.
According to the bio on her website, she was “Chairperson for Ch.26 a Time Warner community cable access television station for 10 years.” and has been two-term elect Governor for the National Academy of Television and Screen Artists NYC.