CBS boss Les Moonves resigns after sex allegations

Danny Woods
September 10, 2018

CBS chief Les Moonves resigned Sunday, just hours after six more women accused the veteran television executive of sexual misconduct.

A financial exit package for Moonves will be withheld pending the results of an ongoing investigation into the allegations against him.

The incidents, which the women said took place between the 1980s and early 2000s, were published in a New Yorker story and included claims of forced sex, Moonves exposing himself and use of physical violence and intimidation. "He absolutely ruined my career", television executive Phyllis Golden-Gottlieb told Farrow, recounting a day in the '80s when she denied Moonves oral sex in his vehicle, prompting him to throw her "hard" against a wall a few days later. Golden-Gottlieb didn't report the assaults until a year ago but prosecutors declined to press charges because the statute of limitations ran out.

CBS had been investigating Mr Moonves since allegations appeared in the New Yorker in July - and fresh accusations from six more women have appeared.

Writer Linda Silverthorn, who says she had consensual sexual encounters with Moonves when she was an assistant and he was a vice president at 20th Century Fox, tells Farrow she was harassed when she arrived for a business meeting six years later, in 1990, at Warner Bros., where Moonves was an executive.

In a second statement after his departure, Moonves said he was "deeply saddened" to be leaving the company and its employees. Moonves acknowledged relations with three of the women but said they were consensual, and that he had never used his position to hurt the careers of women.

"I have never used my position to hinder the advancement or careers of women", he said.

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"In my 40 years of work, I have never before heard of such disturbing accusations". O'Donnell added: "This I know is true: Women can not achieve equality in the workplace or society until there is reckoning".

Five current independent directors and one National Amusement-affiliated director have stepped down from the board of directors and 6 new directors have been elected, the company said.

A new report from The New Yorker on Sunday detailed accusations of sexual harassment and assault from six additional women against Moonves.

It has been almost a year since Pulitzer Prize-winning articles by The New York Times and the New Yorker exposed a pattern of misconduct by Weinstein, who now faces sex crime charges in New York. Early this year, Moonves informed a portion of the CBS board about the criminal investigation. The Moonves-led CBS had opposed such a deal, leading to an open revolt in the board room and a legal battle to diminish Redstone's influence over the company.

In January 2018, Shari began pushing for CBS to merge with Viacom which was vehemently resisted by Moonves and the CBS board.

Vanity Fair also published an account on Sunday of a female doctor who reports that Moonves was inappropriate with her as well.

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". In addition to the Moonves departure, CBS announced Sunday a resolution of that dispute, which includes an agreement that the stockholder, National Amusements, won't propose a merger for at least two years. The studio promptly developed two of TV's biggest-ever hits, "Friends" and "ER", in the same season, making the executive the ideal choice to take over struggling CBS in the mid-1990s.

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