Leslie “Les” Moonves is no longer the chairman and CEO of CBS following allegations of sexual misconduct, the network announced on Sunday.
CBS and Moonves, 68 — who will be temporarily replaced by Chief Operating Officer Joseph Ianniello — “will donate $20 million to one or more organizations that support the #MeToo movement and equality for women in the workplace,” CBS said, adding that the donation will be made immediately.
“Moonves will not receive any severance benefits at this time (other than certain fully accrued and vested compensation and benefits),” the network said, explaining that any future payments are contingent upon the results of investigations into the allegations against Moonves.
In a Ronan Farrow piece published by The New Yorker on Sunday, six additional women came forward with allegations of sexual harassment and assault, including forced oral sex, exposing himself without consent, and the use of physical violence and intimidation to keep them quiet. The women said the incidents took place between the 1980s and early 2000s.
In Farrow’s first piece on Moonves, published July 27, six women — including actress Illeana Douglas and writer Janet Jones — who professionally dealt with Moonves between the 1980s and late aughts accused him of sexual misconduct.
“Six women who had professional dealings with him told me that … Moonves sexually harassed them. Four described forcible touching or kissing during business meetings, in what they said appeared to be a practiced routine. Two told me that Moonves physically intimidated them or threatened to derail their careers,” Farrow writes in his piece. “All said that he became cold or hostile after they rejected his advances, and that they believed their careers suffered as a result.”
In a statement to The New Yorker in July, Moonves admitted to acting inappropriately in the past.
“Throughout my time at CBS, we have promoted a culture of respect and opportunity for all employees, and have consistently found success elevating women to top executive positions across our company. I recognize that there were times decades ago when I may have made some women uncomfortable by making advances,” he said.
“Those were mistakes, and I regret them immensely. 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. This is a time when we all are appropriately focused on how we help improve our society, and we at CBS are committed to being part of the solution,” he continued.
Moonves has been married to The Talk and Big Brother host Julie Chen since 2004. Chen defended her husband on Twitter following the first round of allegations.
“I have known my husband, Leslie Moonves, since the late ’90s, and I have been married to him for almost 14 years. Leslie is a good man and a loving father, devoted husband and inspiring corporate leader,” she tweeted.
Earlier the CBS board issued a statement to CNBC, writing, “All allegations of personal misconduct are …read more