In a report published Friday in The New Yorker, six women accuse CBS CEO Leslie Moonves of harassment, intimidation and other forms of misconduct, while others allege a larger pattern of abusive behavior within the company. "The Independent Directors of CBS have committed to investigating claims that violate the company's clear policies".
Now, thanks to a fresh New Yorker piece from investigative journalist Ronan Farrow, Moonves is under investigation due to allegations of sexual misconduct. CBS has already stated that the network will be investigating these claims.
Men at CBS News accused of sexual misconduct were promoted, even as the company paid settlements to women with complaints, The New Yorker also reported, suggesting a wider toxic environment at the network. The New Yorker was awarded the Pulitzer Prize gold medal for public service for stories published past year by Farrow, a contributing writer, that exposed the alleged pattern of sexual predation by movie producer Harvey Weinstein. Four of the women claimed that he sexually assaulted them.
Among the women quoted in the article were the actress Illeana Douglas, writer Janet Jones and producer Christine Peters. The media company says it takes all allegations of personal misconduct seriously.
"Those were mistakes, and I regret them immensely", his statement continued. "But I always understood and respected - and abided by the principle - that "no" means 'no, ' and I have never misused my position to harm or hinder anyone's career", Leslie said in part of his statement.
Multiple accusations of sexual misconduct against politicians, business leaders and entertainers in the US have been made in the past year, leading to resignations, often inspired by the #MeToo social movement. Moonves is now in pitched battle over the future of his company with Shari Redstone, the National Amusements chair with controlling shares in both CBS and Viacom.
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Over the last five years, Moonves has earned more than $320 million in compensation, according to TheWrap's annual executive compensation surveys.
"With Shari gunning for him, there's just no way he survives this", one high-ranking executive at a rival network told Variety, adding of the allegations in Farrow's story, "It just rings so true".
Since Harvey Weinstein's downfall, Hollywood heavyweights have dropping like flies after accusations of sexual misconduct: The late Roger Ailes, Fox News chairman and CEO; Matt Lauer, longtime host of NBC's Today; Charlie Rose, co-anchor of CBS' This Morning. One of the allegations was made against Jeff Fager, the former chairman of CBS News, who allowed harassment to occur in the division. "While that litigation process continues, the CBS management team has the full support of the independent board members", the statement said.
That court case is still pending, and it is unclear whether the allegations against Moonves will affect it.
Reporting on the bombshell report, CBS News detailed the allegations made against Moonves and Fager, including recounting how actor and producer Ileana Douglas recalled how, in 1997, Moonves held her down and "violently kissed her" after asking if she was single. CBS' stock price (NYSE: CBS) plunged 6%, closing at $54.01. That made him one of the highest-paid CEOs in the country a year ago, according to an Equilar review of S&P 500 companies. He has been married to CBS television personality Julie Chen since 2004. Television, where he oversaw the development of hit TV shows "Friends" and "ER".
One, Julie Kirgo, met with Moonves about a TV deal; later, Moonves called her to ask her on a date, and she turned him down.