New sexual misconduct allegations emerge against CBS boss

CBS President and CEO Les Moonves

Modal Trigger AP

CBS Chief Executive Les Moonves will step down from his position amid a series of sexual misconduct complaints by at least 12 female accusers.

In a new statement to The New Yorker, Moonves acknowledged three of the encounters but said they were consensual. As well, both Moonves and the company he once led are donating $20 million each one or more organizations that support the #MeToo movement.

The donation will be deducted from any severance benefits that Moonves would have received upon his departure, CBS said in a press release.

CBS chief operating officer Joe Ianniello is expected to run the company on an interim basis.

CBS is set to announce Moonves' departure by Monday, CNN and Variey reported Sunday. Farrow previously published a Pulitzer Prize-winning report about now-disgraced movie producer Harvey Weinstein.

When reached for comment by Business Insider, CBS provided the following statement: "CBS takes these allegations very seriously".

It also concludes a months-long battle for control of CBS between Moonves and the company's controlling shareholder, Shari Redstone.

Moonves worked as an executive for CBS for more than two decades, joining the network in 1995 as president of CBS Entertainment. 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.

Leslie Moonves, Chairman and CEO, CBS Corporation, speaks during the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, US, May 3, 2017.

Following the New Yorker report in August, Moonves said he regretted "immensely" making some women uncomfortable by making advances, but added that he abided by the principle that "no" means 'no, ' and stated he had never misused his position to harm or hinder anyone's career. "A number of the women also said that Moonves retaliated after they rebuffed him, damaging their careers". The new allegations have made it untenable for Moonves to continue in his post, though it remains unclear whether he will be fired or allowed to resign. This money, the amount of it, is dependent on the outcome of this investigation and what CBS believes to be truthful and accurate and real allegations of sexual misconduct.

Moonves's departure had been on the cards, with USA media reporting in recent days that the terms of his departure had been under negotiation for weeks, and a deal had been expected before markets open Monday.

An investigation being conducted by outside law firms into the allegations against Moonves is ongoing, the network said.

The response was so strong that Farrow has published a follow-up to his exposé, featuring testimony from six additional women who said that Moonves forced them to perform oral sex, solicited sexual favors from them, and then used harassment and coercion to intimidate them into silence. Nineteen current and former CBS employees have also alleged that former CBS News Chairman Jeff Fager condoned sexual harassment in his division.

Farrow's initial piece on Moonves presumably helped him surface other women who claimed similar stories. "He absolutely ruined my career", television executive Phyllis Golden-Gottlieb told Farrow, recounting a day in the '80s when she denied Moonves oral sex in his auto, prompting him to throw her "hard" against a wall a few days later.

Latest News