Sunday, September 9, 2018

New Allegations Doom CBS CEO Les Moonves

Bowing to pressure brought on by a sexual harassment scandal, CBS Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Leslie Moonves is expected to resign late Sunday or early Monday, according to The LA Times citing two people familiar with the matter who were not authorized to comment publicly.

Negotiations over the terms of his departure accelerated following a new report Sunday in the New Yorker magazine, which detailed six women’s allegations of sexual misconduct involving Moonves in the 1980s and 1990s.

One of the women with allegations against the 68-year-old Moonves, a veteran television executive named Phyllis Golden-Gottlieb, told Ronan Farrow that she filed a criminal complaint late last year with the Los Angeles Police Department, accusing Moonves of physically restraining her and forcing her to perform oral sex on him, and of exposing himself to her and violently throwing her against a wall in later incidents. The two worked together in the late nineteen-eighties. Law-enforcement sources found Golden-Gottlieb’s allegations credible and consistent but prosecutors declined to pursue charges because the statutes of limitations for the crimes had expired.

“CBS takes these allegations very seriously,” the network said Sunday in a statement. “Our board of directors is conducting a thorough investigation of these matters, which is ongoing.”

Joseph Ianniello, CBS’ chief operating officer, is expected to be elevated to interim CEO. Ianniello has been with CBS, and its corporate predecessor Viacom Inc., for 18 years. He is deeply familiar with the company’s finances — and has helped to plot the company’s business strategy — but he lacks relationships in Hollywood, where Moonves had a strong reputation for being one of the industry’s best programmers.

Moonves will become the highest-profile media figure to step down in the #MeToo era. Twelve women have separately accused him of sexual conduct in the two articles authored by investigative reporter Ronan Farrow. Sunday’s article in the New Yorker detailed allegations that Moonves demanded massages from women or forcibly kissed them.

Moonves told the New Yorker that some of the encounters described in the article were consensual.

He joined CBS in July 1995 as president of CBS Entertainment. From April 1998 until 2003, he was president and chief executive officer at CBS Television, then was promoted to chairman and CEO of CBS in 2003. In 2003, CBS became America's most watched television network and had six of the ten most-watched primetime shows in the final quarter of 2005: CSI, Without a Trace, CSI: Miami, Survivor: Guatemala, NCIS, and Cold Case.

He became chairman of CBS in February 2016.

Moonves was the second most highly paid director for 2012 and 2013: he received $58.8 million and $65.4 million. He is considered the second-highest paid CEO, having been paid $68.4 million in 2017.

In 2013, Moonves was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame. He became chairman of CBS in February 2016.

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