Published: Mon, September 10, 2018
Life&Culture | By Sue Mclaughlin

CBS CEO Les Moonves to step down amid sexual misconduct allegations

CBS CEO Les Moonves to step down amid sexual misconduct allegations

Embattled CBS Corp. chief executive Leslie Moonves is facing new allegations of sexual misconduct, amid news reports that he will soon step down following previous accusations.

That's the SECOND set of sexual misconduct allegations levied against Moonves in the a year ago; now, it appears that what had been a lengthy discussion about how to remove him will turn into a quick and decisive exit.

CBS is set to announce Moonves' departure by Monday, CNN and Variey reported Sunday.

CBS said on Sunday it takes such allegations very seriously. "In the last week, as we reached out to CBS for comment", stories emerged about exit talks, Farrow said.

He said he had consensual relations with three of the women named by The New Yorker "some 25 years ago before I came to CBS".

Under the terms of his contract, Moonves would be owed nearly $180 million if removed without "cause". "Moonves will not receive any severance benefits at this time (other than certain fully accrued and vested compensation and benefits); any payments to be made in the future will depend upon the results of the independent investigation and subsequent Board evaluation".

As part of the ouster, he and CBS will donate $20 million to one or more charities supporting the #MeToo movement and equality for women in the workplace, the company said.

CBS also settled its ongoing legal woes with National Amusements, Inc., which means there will be no merger of CBS and Viacom for at least two years. In my 40 years of work, I have never before heard of such disturbing accusations.

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Moonves, who has been accused of lewd and sometimes violent behavior by now a dozen women, is out effective immediately, according to a statement from CBS. CBS had reportedly hired two law firms to investigate prior claims against Moonves, who will be exiting the company before the investigation concludes. I can only surmise they are surfacing now for the first time, decades later, as part of a concerted effort by others to destroy my name, my reputation, and my career. Some alleged he forced them to perform oral sex on him, forcibly kissed them, exposed himself to unwilling participants and put the careers of those that rebuffed his advances in jeopardy. Moonves responded with a statement admitting that he "may have made some women uncomfortable" throughout his career, but insisting that he "never misused [his] position" at CBS.

Having started as an actor (including small roles in shows like "The Six Million Dollar Man"), Moonves always brought an element of showmanship to his role as an executive, reveling in the annual upfront presentations that allowed him to take the stage at Carnegie Hall.

A second wave of allegations were reported by Farrow in a follow-up story first published on Sunday.

Moonves joined CBS in 1995 from Warner Bros.

Per the New Yorker, "Several of the women expressed outrage that Moonves might be enriched by his departure from the company".

Moonves has vehemently denied any wrongdoing. The women who were able to fend off his advances were then met with hostility, coldness, and verbal abuse.

The latest developments end years of uncertainty over the future of CBS, which was headed to court with National Amusements on October 3. "The actions described in this article are those of sexual assault and shame on anyone else in the corporation who knew about his crimes".

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