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CBS board reportedly meeting to discuss Les Moonves’ fate



les moonves cbs
CEO Les Moonves at Business Insider Ignition

Michael Seto/Business

  • The CBS board will reportedly meet Monday to discuss
    the fate of CEO and chairman Les Moonves.
  • Moonves was accused of sexual misconduct by six women
    in a New Yorker report on Friday.
  • Some female CBS executives and personalities have
    spoken in support of Moonves, but Hollywood has been largely
    silent about the story.


The CBS board of directors will reportedly meet on Monday to
discuss CEO and chairman Les Moonves’ fate, after six women
accused him of sexual misconduct in an extensive New Yorker
 published Friday.

The women told investigative journalist Ronan Farrow  — who
was also behind the New Yorker report that helped uncover decades
of sexual misconduct allegations against Harvey Weinstein — that
Moonves had forcibly touched or kissed them and negatively
influenced their careers when they rejected his advances. Moonves
denied the allegations.

One of the accusers, actress and writer Illeana Douglas, alleged
that Moonves pinned her down and kissed her during a business
meeting in 1997. When she struggled during rehearsals the
following week, she said that Moonves called her to scold her,
and she was later fired from the TV show. In a statement,
told The New Yorker
that Moonves admitted he tried to kiss
Douglas, but “denies any characterization of ‘sexual assault,’
intimidation, or retaliatory action.”

According to The Wall Street Journal, over
the weekend members of the CBS board discussed Moonves’ future at
the company and whether he should step away during its
investigation into the allegations, which will be conducted by a
law firm selected by a special committee. The WSJ said that board
members differed in opinion on whether Moonves should step

During its meeting on Monday, the board will finalize details of
the investigation,
according to The New York Times
, including how it should
proceed and the scope of the investigation. CNN reported that the
meeting will take place at 9 a.m. PT on Monday, and that the
investigation “could take weeks” as it looks into allegations
against Moonves, “60 Minutes” executive producer Jeff Fager, and
the overall culture at CBS.

Many Hollywood heavyweights who have previously been outspoken in
support of the #MeToo movement have not commented on the Moonves
story. This is markedly different from other #MeToo allegations
that have come to light, which have often garnered immediate and
vocal support from Hollywood stars.

Since the allegations broke, some female CBS executives and
personalities have come to Moonves’ defense, including his wife,
Julie Chen, who tweeted Friday, “Leslie is a good man and loving
father, devoted husband and inspiring corporate leader. He has
always been a kind, decent, and moral human being. I fully
support my husband and stand behind him and his statement.”

Programming executive Angelia McDaniel tweeted her support on
Friday, saying that her relationship with Moonves has been “one
of respect and support, in an environment where talent and hard
work rise to the top. Statements about a culture of repression
and subjugation of women have never been brought to bear on
myself or my department in my eight years as a top executive at

CBS advertising revenue chief Jo Ann Ross also tweeted, “I fully
support Leslie Moonves and his statement. My experience with him
on a professional and personal basis has never had any hint of
the behavior this story refers to.”

Sharon Osbourne, who co-hosts CBS talk show “The Talk,” tweeted,
I hope people don’t rush to judgement and let @CBS
conduct their investigation. Sending my love and support to
my friends @
JulieChen and Leslie Moonves.”

Lynda Carter, who starred as the title character on the 1970s
“Wonder Woman” TV show that aired on CBS, tweeted “Les
Moonves is a close friend. I’ve known him for 40 years. He is a
kind, decent and honorable man. I believe him and I believe in

But others have been more measured in their comments.

Chuck Lorre, creator of CBS sitcoms such as “The Big Bang
Theory,” “Young Sheldon,” and “Two and a Half Men,” declined to comment on the
allegations against Moonves during a Television Critics
Association panel on Sunday, but instead commented on the
importance of a safe work environment. 

“I’ve been in some unsafe environments in television and
you can read about them,” he said. “You can’t do good work in an
unsafe environment, and it had to be made safe for everyone. Why
would anyone want to go to work in an environment that’s not
nurturing? You certainly can’t do comedy if you’re frightened,
and you certainly can’t do good work if the environment doesn’t
support you and look after your best interests.”

Moonves generally denied the allegations, and said in a
statement to 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 recognize 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.”

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