Published: Sat, July 28, 2018
Life&Culture | By Peggy Hughes

CBS CEO Les Moonves Under Investigation for Sexual Misconduct

CBS CEO Les Moonves Under Investigation for Sexual Misconduct

The exposé dives into several specific allegations, including a 1997 incident with Douglas.

"Moonves provides strong consistent leadership, particularly in light of the breadth of his institutional knowledge of all aspects of the Company's businesses", CBS said in its annual proxy filing. Writer and actress Illeana Douglas, writer Janet Jones, producer Christine Peters, and an actress who appeared on a CBS show as a police officer and declined to be identified further said Moonves made unwanted contact or advances during such meetings. There, Moonves told the actress that he had long had a crush on her but had not said anything to her because she had been in a relationship with a mutual friend.

She said she later felt intimidated by Moonves on set and was replaced on the show, before she was given a mini-series by the network.

In it, six women accused Moonves of sexual harassment and intimidation. In 2006, New York Times reporter Bill Carter's book "Desperate Networks" declared that Moonves "engineered one of the most spectacular turnarounds in television history".

Moonves, 68, has fought the merger.

The allegations are reportedly laid out in an upcoming article in The New Yorker penned by Ronan Farrow, who also broke the Harvey Weinstein sex scandal story.

Former employees told Farrow that Fager would drunkenly hit on women at company parties, protect men on his staff accused of misconduct, and even promote those known for bad behavior. Many women described CBS News as having a 'frat house atmosphere'.

According to Farrow, sources told him that Fager not only instructed Gordon not to contact Human Resources, saying that he would talk to Radutzky himself, he asked Gordon to apologize to Radutzky to diminish any conflict in the office.

On Friday, in response to the expected Farrow report, the independent directors of the board said they would look into the charges made in the forthcoming article.

Entertainment industry leaders Friday evening began to process the weighty allegations of sexual misconduct by CBS chief Leslie Moonves revealed in the New Yorker.

The board is hiring an independent company to conduct the investigation.

Earlier on Friday, before the New Yorker article was published, CBS said in a statement that its board would promptly review the findings and take appropriate action. "Along with that team, we will continue to focus on creating value for our shareowners", the statement continues.

As the Hollywood Reporter notes, 14 CBS News employees came forward with allegations against Rose. "Ms. Redstone hopes that the investigation of these allegations is thorough, open and transparent". Regarding the other allegations, Moonves either denied them outright or said he had no recollection of the alleged events described by the women.

Wall Street was spooked in anticipation of the New Yorker story, and the potential for Moonves' exit.

Moonves has been at CBS since 1995. Since then, she has never had a TV deal at CBS deal and believes the harassment "derailed any future career I would have had at CBS". Thirty current and former CBS employees claimed they have been harassed and discriminated-against at the network, while in some cases male employees who participated in such misconduct got promotions.

Mr Moonves, who has led the company since 1998, topped Variety magazine's annual listing of the highest paid media executives, taking home $69.3 million in 2017.

Moonves' wife, Julie Chen, who he has been with since 2004, defended her husband.

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