Published: Sat, July 28, 2018
Culture&Arts | By Rick Owen

CBS investigating after CEO accused of sexual misconduct

CBS investigating after CEO accused of sexual misconduct

CBS said on Friday it is investigating personal misconduct claims after the company's chief executive, Les Moonves, was the subject of a New Yorker story detailing sexual misconduct allegations.

"He has gotten away with it for decades", said writer Janet Jones, who claims Moonves forced his lips on her during a 1985 pitch meeting.

In a 2005 profile, the New York Times described one of Moonves's keys to success as "understanding what the audience wants - sometimes even before it knows it wants it".

For a decade under his leadership, CBS has been the most-watched network in the U.S., narrowly retaining its crown ahead of NBC in the 2017-18 season. When she went to leave, Douglas told Farrow that Moonves momentarily blocked her path.

The article also reported that 30 current and former employees said other inappropriate behavior happened elsewhere at the company, including CBS News and its flagship program "60 Minutes".

He began his Hollywood career as an actor with bit parts in TV shows before switching careers, quickly ascending in corporate management at 21st Century Fox Television, Lorimar and Warner Bros. The two companies merged in 1999 and split up just a few years later, in 2005.

The New Yorker had declined to comment, citing its policy of not commenting on reporting efforts before publication.

CBS is investigating allegations of sexual misconduct against him.

The story comes at a time when CBS is in a legal battle with Viacom. But it was when he arrived at CBS in 1995 - he would become CEO in 2003 - that he entered the top tier of executives, nearly singlehandedly ushering in a golden era at the network.

The board is hiring an independent company to conduct the investigation.

CBS came into the #MeToo spotlight in November, when it fired veteran presenter Charlie Rose after eight women accused the talk-show host and co-anchor of CBS This Morning of sexual misconduct. Other women in the New Yorker article described retaliation after their alleged negative interactions with Moonves, including the loss of career opportunities and the spread of rumors that they were hard to deal with.

"Those were mistakes, and I regret them immensely", his statement continued.

Last year, the New Yorker reports, Moonves earned almost seventy million dollars, making him one of the highest-paid corporate executives in the world.

CBS Independent Directors confirmed to E! Shari Redstone is a major shareholder in both media companies, and has been seeking to combine them again. "Along with that team, we will continue to focus on creating value for our shareowners", the statement continues. "Qualities that historically have rankled the CBS chief include dishonesty, disloyalty and a desire for the spotlight, with insiders noting that the men who have thrived under Moonves, a classic alpha male, tend to be egoless", the story said.

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