- CBS CEO and chairman Les Moonves won’t be suspended during an investigation into sexual misconduct claims against him, CBS said Monday.
- The CBS board of directors met Monday to discuss Moonves’ future and how to proceed with an investigation.
- The board will select outside counsel to conduct the investigation, and postponed the company’s annual stockholder meeting, but “no other action was taken” on the matter.
- Moonves was accused by six women of sexual misconduct in a New Yorker report published Friday.
- Hollywood has remained largely silent, but some CBS female executives and personalities have voiced their support for Moonves, including his wife Julie Chen.
It appears that CBS CEO Les Moonves will remain in his job during an investigation into sexual misconduct claims made against him by six women.
The CBS board of directors met on Monday to discuss Moonves’ future and how to proceed with an investigation after the women accused Moonves of sexual misconduct in a report published Friday by The New Yorker.
Prior to the meeting, The Wall Street Journal reported that board members differed in opinions on whether Moonves should step away during the investigation.
The board will select outside counsel to conduct the investigation, CBS said in a statement Monday, but the board did not decide that Moonves should step away. It did decide to postpone the company’s annual stockholder meeting.
Here is the statement from CBS:
“CBS Corporation announced today that its Board of Directors is in the process of selecting outside counsel to conduct an independent investigation. No other action was taken on this matter at today’s board meeting.
Additionally, the Board determined to postpone CBS Corporation’s 2018 annual meeting of stockholders that was previously scheduled to be held on August 10, 2018. The Board will determine a new record date for the 2018 annual meeting of stockholders and will publicly disclose the new date, time and location.”
Six women told investigative journalist Ronan Farrow that Moonves had forcibly touched or kissed them and, in some cases, negatively influenced their careers when they rejected his advances. One of the accusers, actress and writer Illeana Douglas, alleged that Moonves pinned her down and kissed her during a business meeting in 1997, and when Douglas struggled through auditions the following week, Moonves called to berate her. She was later fired from the show.
While CBS told The New Yorker that Moonves acknowledged trying to kiss Douglas, it said he “denies any characterization of ‘sexual assault,’ intimidation, or retaliatory action.”
Moonves denied the allegations generally in a statement to The New Yorker:
“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 recognise that there were times decades ago when I may have made some women uncomfortable by making advances. 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.”
Hollywood has largely remained silent on the allegations against Moonves and CBS, but some female executives and personalities at the company have voiced their support, including Moonves’ wife, Julie Chen. Chen tweeted on Friday, “He has always been a kind, decent, and moral human being. I fully support my husband and stand behind him and his statement.”
Executives Angelica McDaniel and Jo Ann Ross, “The Talk” co-host Sharon Osbourne, and actress Lynda Carter were among the others to defend Moonves.
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