Jul 27, 2018

CBS taking Les Moonves sexual harassment allegations "seriously"

CBS CEO Les Moonves. Photo: Greg Doherty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

CBS Corporation issues a statement Friday that sexual harassment allegations against its longstanding chairman and Chief Executive Les Moonves — expected to be made public in a Ronan Farrow article in The New Yorker on Friday — "are to be taken seriously."

Why it matters: Moonves has been chairman of CBS since 2016 and has been a high-level executive with the corporation since 1995. He is credited with turning the once-struggling broadcaster's business around, and making it the more lucrative business to its former sister company, Viacom.

“All allegations of personal misconduct are to be taken seriously. The Independent Directors of CBS have committed to investigating claims that violate the Company’s clear policies in that regard. Upon the conclusion of that investigation, which involves recently reported allegations that go back several decades, the Board will promptly review the findings and take appropriate action.”
— CBS Board of Directors in a statement

The backstory: CBS has stood by Moonves throughout a publicly contentious fight with its primary shareholder, Shari Redstone, Vice Chairwoman of National Amusements Inc., a holding company, over its independence.

  • During that battle, National Amusements alleged that a member of the CBS Board of Directors physically and verbally abused another member of the Board. Sources told Axios that figure was not Moonves.
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