CBS CEO Les Moonves is on his way out after yet more allegations of sexual harassment and assault, CNN and Reuters reported Sunday.
The New Yorker on Sunday published a second round of reporting on Moonves, adding to a July report in which women accused him of sexual harassment and intimidation.
The magazine on Sunday reported the on-the-record accounts of six women alleging that Moonves assaulted and harassed them, including by forcing oral sex, exposing himself without their consent, being physically violent and otherwise retaliating against them professionally when they rebuffed his advances.
One accuser, Phyllis Golden-Gottlieb, filed a criminal complaint with the LAPD last 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. Moonves told a portion of the CBS board about the police probe earlier this year, the New Yorker said.
After the initial report, Moonves acknowledged “mistakes” but denied “misusing” his position to “harm or hinder anyone’s career.” “The appalling accusations in this article are untrue,” Moonves responded in part to the second report Sunday. He claimed to have had consensual relationships with three of the report’s sources, though he did not specify whom.
The CBS board, Moonves and Shari Redstone — president of National Amusements, Inc. and CBS’ controlling shareholder — were engaged in a bitter business dispute even before the first sexual misconduct allegations against Moonves. The same “global” agreement to settle that dispute will cover Moonves’ departure, CNN reported.
The CBS board of directors announced in response to the first New Yorker story that it had tasked two outside law firms with investigating the allegations against Moonves, as well as “CBS News and cultural issues at all levels of CBS.”
If Moonves were to be fired without cause, he could receive upwards of $170 million in a severance package. CNBC reported last week that the board was offering an exit package of $100 million, mostly in company stock, and with the ability to claw back some of that amount depending on the confirmation of the allegations against Moonves.
Per the New Yorker, “Several of the women expressed outrage that Moonves might be enriched by his departure from the company.”
“Many of the women found that very, very frustrating,” the report’s author, Ronan Farrow, told CNN’s Brian Stelter Sunday. “They felt that this is a board that has let a powerful man who makes a lot of money for this company, in the words of one person, ‘get away with it.’”
Reuters reported Sunday that “Moonves could end up with nothing,” and that as part of its settlement with National Amusements, “CBS will donate a portion to an unnamed charity and reserved the right to claw back the rest of a severance package” depending on the confirmation of the allegations against Moonves.
CNN reported a slightly different arrangement, citing the previously-reported $100 million number but adding: “the compensation will be deferred until the harassment investigations are completed, some of the sources said.”
CNN also reported that the CBS board could attempt to “claw back” some compensation to Moonves based on the investigation’s findings.
Farrow reported later Sunday that Moonves “will no longer receive any exit compensation, pending outcome of investigation, and that a portion of those funds will go to #MeToo causes.”
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