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6 women accuse CBS Corp. exec Leslie Moonves of sexual misconduct

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Les Moonves CEO CBS Corp
CBS Corporation CEO Leslie
Moonves.

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  • Six women have accused Leslie Moonves, the CEO and
    chairman of CBS Corporation, of unwanted sexual advances and
    intimidation, according to a bombshell report from The New
    Yorker and investigative journalist Ronan Farrow.
  • Four of the women alleged that Moonves had forcibly
    touched or kissed them during what were supposed to have been
    business meetings.
  • Two other women say they believe he was influential in
    thwarting their careers after they rejected his
    advances.
  • Moonves admitted to making several women feel
    uncomfortable, but denied making unwanted advances.

Six women have accused Leslie Moonves, the CEO and chairman of
CBS Corporation, of unwanted sexual advances and intimidation
during,
according to a New Yorker report
 published Friday.

Four of the women interviewed by investigative journalist Ronan
Farrow alleged that Moonves forcibly touched or kissed them in
what were supposed to have been business meetings. Two other
women say they believe he was influential in thwarting their
careers after they rejected his advances.

Actress and writer Illeana Douglas, who was
nominated for an Emmy for HBO’s “Six Feet Under,” described one
alleged encounter with Moonves in 1997, when Douglas says she was
invited to a meeting with Moonves, who was the president of CBS
Entertainment at the time, alone at his office. At the meeting,
Moonves cut her off mid-conversation “to ask me am I single,”
Douglas said.

“I didn’t know what to say at that point,” Douglas told The New
Yorker. “I was, like, ‘I’m single, yes, no, maybe.'”

Douglas alleged that Moonves then asked to kiss her, to which she
tried ignoring by shifting the focus of the conversation back to
work. She claimed Moonves then grabbed her, “one arm over me,
pinning me,” and began “violently kissing” her. The actress said
she was paralyzed by Moonves’ advances and felt like a “trapped
animal.”

“You sort of black out,” Douglas told The New Yorker. “You think,
How long is this going to go on? I was just looking at this nice
picture of his family and his kids. I couldn’t get him off me.”

After struggling to perform during rehearsals the following week,
Douglas alleged that Moonves called her at home to berate her.
During the call, according to The New Yorker, Moonves told
Douglas that she wouldn’t “get a f—ing dime” or “work at this
network again,” according to the actress.

Douglas was later fired from her TV show and dropped by her
manager and agent. Details of her account were corroborated by
her attorney’s contemporaneous notes and several other people,
including director Martin Scorsese, who said they were told of
the incident around the same time, The New Yorker’s story says.

Moonves said in a statement through CBS that he admitted he tried
to kiss Douglas, but “denies any characterization of ‘sexual
assault,’ intimidation, or retaliatory action,” according to The
New Yorker.

Five other women have also accused Moonves of misconduct:

Janet Jones, an aspiring writer in 1985, said she met with
Moonves to pitch him her first screenplay in Hollywood. Moonves,
who was the vice president of 20th Century Fox at the time, “came
around the corner of the table and threw himself on top of me,”
Jones said according to The New Yorker.

Moonves allegedly tried to kiss her, which she rebuffed. She
claims that she later got a disturbing call from Moonves: “I’m
warning you. I will ruin your career,” Moonves said, according to
Jones. “You will never get a writing job. No one will hire you.
Do you understand what I’m saying to you?”

Producer Christine Peters described a meeting at Moonves’ office
in the early 1990s, where he allegedly slid his hands up her
skirt and touched her underwear, according to Farrow’s reporting.

An anonymous woman The New Yorker describes as a “prominent
actress who played a police officer on a long-running CBS
program,” said that her deal with CBS was unexpectedly terminated
after declining Moonves’ advances.

The woman said she met with Moonves to confront him on the issue.
As she was leaving, she leaned over to give him a kiss on the
cheek when the executive allegedly grabbed her and “shoved his
tongue” down her throat.

Emmy-winning writer Dinah Kirgo said that
immediately after a meeting in the 1980s, she received an
questionable proposition disguised as a dinner: “You’re very
expensive, and I need to know you’re worth it,” he said,
according to Kirgo.

After telling Moonves that she didn’t believe his “wife would
appreciate us having that kind of dinner,” Kirgo said that her
agent began receiving reports that she was difficult to work
with.

A former child star who was only identified by
her first name, Kimberly, said that during a meeting to re-launch
her career in television, Moonves abruptly said to her, “Let’s
just get a hotel room. Let’s just do this.”

In a statement, Moonves admitted to making several women feel
uncomfortable, but denied making unwanted advances.

“I recognize that there were times decades ago when I may have
made some women uncomfortable by making advances,” Moonves said
in a statement to The New Yorker. “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,” Moonves added. “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.”

CBS also issued a statement saying that it was “mindful of all
workplace issues and takes each report of misconduct very
seriously.”

“We do not believe, however, that the picture of our company
created in The New Yorker represents a larger organization that
does its best to treat its tens of thousands of employees with
dignity and respect,” the company reportedly said. “We are seeing
vigorous discourse in our country about equality, inclusion, and
safety in the workplace, and CBS is committed to being part of
the solution to those important issues.”

CBS’s stock dropped more than 6% on Friday
after news reports about the forthcoming story were published.
The stock fell another quarter of a percent in after hours
trading.

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