CBS' Leslie Moonves resigns amid allegations

Ruben Ruiz
September 10, 2018

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. Moonves is expected to leave his position with CBS soon and will given a lucrative exit package.

One of the women who has come forward against Moonves filed a complaint late previous year with the Los Angeles Police Department but prosecutors declined to pursue charges because the statute of limitations had expired, The New Yorker reported, citing law-enforcement officials it did not name.

The New Yorker magazine reported the latest allegations included Mr Moonves forcing women to perform oral sex and retaliating when advances were turned away.

Phyllis Golden-Gottlieb, for example, revealed that she'd reported her claims to the Los Angeles Police Department a year ago.

Fager, who has retained his position while the network conducts an independent investigation, couldn't be reached for comment Sunday, and declined to comment to The New Yorker about Johansen's accusation, but in the past has denied the allegations.

Another woman, Jessica Pallingston, said Moonves forced her to perform oral sex on her first day working as his assistant at Warner Bros. productions.

The decision comes after 12 women alleged Moonves had sexually harassed or assaulted them, and in more than one case ruined careers by blacklisting women who rejected him.

In a statement to the New Yorker, Moonves said some of the encounters described in the story were consensual.

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"A $20 million donation is a first step in acknowledging that you have a problem", Time's Up said in a statement directed at CBS after Moonves' departure.

"It was quite a few times that those women would come back and say, 'I'm never going up there again, ' " Debra Williams, who was then spa director, tells Farrow, adding that a hotel official warned Moonves to stop the behavior. "In my 40 years of work, I have never before heard of such disturbing accusations", Moonves said.

Sunday's announcement of Moonves' departure also concludes a months-long battle for control of CBS between Moonves and the company's controlling shareholder, Shari Redstone, Sumner Redstone's daughter. Additionally, five members of the board will be replaced with new directors. The CBS board initially resisted calls for Moonves to be suspended or forced out. Insiders say they did their best to focus on the work of running a media company with a $21 billion market cap.

Farrow's story Sunday seemed to be enough evidence needed from the CBS board.

CBS' board also announced Sunday that Redstone's National Amusements will not propose a merger between CBS and Viacom, which Redstone had been urging, for two years. CBS and National Amusements sued each other and exchanged vitriolic statements on the eve of one of the most important dates on the business calendar: the CBS upfront presentation at Carnegie Hall.

A spokesperson for the Time's Up movement released a statement last week denouncing the large settlement Moonves is rumored to receive, stating it sends a message to survivors of sexual abuse that powerful men can be accused of sexual abuse, and come out unscathed.

He said on CNN that "these women are coming out now" because "they have been extraordinarily frustrated by what they perceive to be inaction on the part of CBS and its board". Dozens of other women have complained that sexual misconduct was tolerated in parts of the company.

Farrow indicated that CBS has been aware of the new allegations for at least several days.

Other reports by GizPress

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