- CBS may have missed an opportunity to get ahead of sexual misconduct allegations against its ousted chief Les Moonves because of the well-publicised power struggle between Moonves loyalists and Shari Redstone, president of the CBS parent company, National Amusements.
- According a Wall Street Journal report published Monday night, Redstone asked members of CBS’ board of directors about allegations against Moonves in January.
- The board brushed off the concerns, as did Moonves when Redstone spoke to him directly, The Journal said, citing sources familiar with the conversations.
- Those bombshell accusations came to light via a New Yorker exposé in July. New allegations emerged on Sunday, forcing Moonves to step down as CEO of CBS Corporation.
- Redstone and Moonves had been in a long-playing fight over the future of CBS, raising the possibility that the network could rejoin Viacom in a merger now that Moonves is gone.
New details about the events that led up to Les Moonves’ resignation from CBS Corporation emerged on Monday night.
A report from The Wall Street Journal, says Shari Redstone, the president of CBS’ parent company, National Amusements, was asking members of the network’s board of directors about a police inquiry into sexual misconduct allegations against Moonves in January.
According to the report, which cites sources familiar with the discussions, the board brushed off Redstone’s concerns and so did Moonves when Redstone contacted him directly.
Moonves told a portion of the board about a criminal investigation earlier this year, the New Yorker previously reported. But it wasn’t until investigative journalist Ronan Farrow published a bombshell exposé in the New Yorker that CBS leapt into action, hiring two law firms to dig into the allegations. Additional claims of misconduct published on Sunday forced Moonves to rush the exits.
Redstone and Moonves have been locked in a long-playing, public battle over the future of CBS, with Redstone pushing for a new merger between the network and Viacom. Moonves had been fighting it.
A lack of trust between the two sides ultimately hamstrung CBS’ response to the sexual misconduct allegations, The Journal’s Keach Hagey and Joe Flint wrote.
“Some board members were sceptical, believing Ms. Redstone was spreading the rumours,” Hagey and Flint reported.
Industry insiders have speculated that, with Moonves off the scene, a new CBS-Viacom merger would be inevitable. At least one expert said it could happen in 2019.
- We “strongly believe a merger between Viacom and CBS will take place”: An industry expert says a remarriage of the media titans is inevitable
- CBS has a new interim CEO after Les Moonves’ resignation, but an industry analyst says he’ll be gone by the end of 2018
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