CBS boss Leslie Moonves resigns amid sexual misconduct allegations

10 September, 2018, 19:13 | Author: Kenneth Collins
  • CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves expected to resign after new sex harassment allegations

Mr Moonves joined CBS as head of entertainment in 1995, and has been chief executive of CBS Corp since 2006, leading the CBS network, Showtime and other entities.

Moonves told the magazine that three of the encounters were consensual.

The New Yorker story says the incidents, which the women said took place between the 1980s and early 2000s, also included claims of forced sex.

Les Moonves, the longtime CEO and Chairman of CBS, has stepped down amid numerous sexual assault and harassment allegations, the company announced Sunday.

But after the magazine reported allegations from six additional women on Sunday, leading to Moonves' forced resignation, O'Donnell said she knew she needed to make a comment.

Then on Sunday, the New Yorker published claims against Moonves by six more women.

The New Yorker quoted a statement in which he says: "The appalling accusations in this article are untrue". "What is true is that I had consensual relations with three of the women some 25 years ago before I came to CBS".

After the initial report, Moonves acknowledged "mistakes" but denied "misusing" his position to "harm or hinder anyone's career".

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"In my 40 years of work, I have never before heard of such disturbing accusations. The actions described in this article are those of sexual assault and shame on anyone else in the corporation who knew about his crimes". CBS announced an internal probe yet Moonves, who was also involved in a separate power struggle that threatened his future control of the company, remained in charge.

But many eyes will still be on Moonves and his potentially gargantuan golden parachute. Moonves was married at the time; he divorced his first wife and married CBS on-air personality Julie Chen in 2004. CBS and Moonves are also immediately donating $20 million to organizations that support the #metoo movement. That sum will be deducted from any severance due Moonves, a figure that won't be determined until an outside investigation led by a pair of law firms is finished. The hope is that a new CEO and big transition on the board of directors - with six new members joining the 14-member panel - will allow for a fresh start. This week, multiple news outlets reported that Moonves was negotiating a possible exit with independent directors of CBS' board. CBS and National Amusements sued each other and exchanged vitriolic statements on the eve of one of the most important dates on the business calendar: the CBS upfront presentation at Carnegie Hall.

Moonves and Redstone were locked in a tug of war even before July 27, when Ronan Farrow of The New Yorker first reported on alleged harassment by Moonves.

Speculation about Moonves' departure swirled last week with news reports that the executive was in negotiations to leave with a potential payout of $100 million, an amount that drew criticism from #MeToo advocates and others.

"Our Board of Directors is conducting a thorough investigation of these matters, which is ongoing", CBS said in a statement.

O'Donnell said that she had made a decision to repeat her earlier words after speaking with co-host Gayle King, who was off on Monday. This is hard for everybody at CBS News. "For years, I have told you that I will only be out here [onstage] for a short time". "I think the most powerful media executive in America has now resigned in the wake of this Me Too movement, and he's my boss". "And it's just not O.K". "It is systemic and it is pervasive in our culture".

Redstone had been pushing to merge CBS and Viacom, and Moonves had opposed the move.

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