CBS CEO Les Moonves set to step down

CBS CEO Les Moonves set to step down

On the heels of a new damning report of a pattern of sexual harassment and sexual assaults, CBS chief Les Moonves is reportedly stepping down, according to CNN and other media.

Only one thing is definite: Moonves and CBS will contribute $20 million "to one or more organizations that support the #MeToo movement and equality for women in the workplace".

The report published Sunday by the New Yorker includes allegations against the CBS Corp. chairman-CEO from six women who say they had disturbing encounters with Moonves, with some claims going back to the 1980s through the early 2000s.

Joseph Ianniello, who has been the CBS chief operating officer since 2013, will serve as president and acting CEO while the board of directors looks for a new CEO.

In the newest report from Farrow, where six women go on the record to describe what most state's laws define as "Oral Copulation by Force or Fear; when a victim is forced to perform oral sex on a perpetrator, receive oral sex from a perpetrator, or both", Moonves says the assaults never happened.

The accusations were more serious than those from six other women who The New Yorker reported in July had accused Moonves of unwanted touching or kissing.

Mr Moonves acknowledged relations with three of the women but said they were consensual, adding he had never used his position to hurt the careers of women.

In a statement, CBS cited the ongoing investigation. "I have never used my position to hinder the advancement or careers of women", Moonves said in a statement.

One accuser, Phyllis Golden-Gottlieb, filed a criminal complaint with the LAPD past year, the New Yorker reported, detailing allegations of physical violence and forced oral sex by Moonves, which unnamed law enforcement sources told the magazine were credible, though the relevant statutes of limitations had already expired. Leslie Moonves attends CBS' 2015 Summer TCA party at the Pacific Design Center on August 10, 2015 in West Hollywood, California.

Those paychecks made Moonves the second-highest paid executive in the S&P 500 among those holding the top job at their company for at least two consecutive years, according to an analysis by The Associated Press and Equilar, an executive data firm.


Ronan Farrow, a contributing writer for the New Yorker, speaks with reporters at Associated Press headquarters in NY, on July 27, 2018.

"Today's resolution will benefit all shareholders, allowing us to focus on the business of running CBS - and transforming it for the future", Redstone said in a statement.

Shortly after his first New Yorker story was published, a source familiar with the situation told me that Moonves was the anonymous subject of a recent article published this past May by Dr. Anne Peters in the Annals of Internal Medicine, under the headline "A Physician's Place in the #MeToo Movement".

As that investigation progressed it was widely reported that Moonves would leave the network shortly and was negotiating a severance package.

Farrow told me Monday by text message that speaking out, even now, "often requires a huge leap from them, putting their careers on the line to confront a powerful person".

Silverthorn told Reuters the New Yorker's account was accurate.

CBS announced Moonves' departure, which takes effect immediately, early Sunday evening. All the women said they still feared that speaking out would lead to retaliation from Moonves, who is known in the industry for his ability to make or break careers.

National Amusements will appoint six new independent directors to the CBS board, including former Time Warner CEO Richard Parsons.

She said she decided it was best to repeat what she said on air after Rose was forced out last November.

A representative of CBS controlling shareholder Shari Redstone and National Amusements declined to comment.

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